CHSRA Approves Major Prop 1A Bond Sale

Dec 14th, 2016 | Posted by

At yesterday’s board meeting the California High Speed Rail Authority voted to authorize $3.2 billion for tracks from Fresno to Madera, and for Caltrain electrification:

The high-speed rail board approved $3.2 billion in funding Tuesday for two segments: $2.6 billion for a 119-mile leg connecting Fresno to Madera and $600 million to electrify a 55-mile stretch of existing Caltrain tracks in the San Jose Peninsula that will eventually connect with high-speed rail. The money is needed so the state meets its obligation to “match” federal funding but had been tied up in litigation for several years.

As Tim Sheehan reports, the funding comes from Prop 1A and the total of $7.8 billion for the San Joaquin Valley comes a variety of other sources:

The federal government has provided California with about $3 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus funds and federal railroad transportation money. About $2.6 billion is expected to come from Proposition 1A, and another $2.2 billion from the state’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.

The federal money comes with strings that are putting some pressure on the state: the ARRA stimulus grants amounting to about $2 billion have to be spent by Sept. 30, 2017; California also has to put up a share of matching funds, expected to come from Proposition 1A. Morales said that the rail authority has spent all but about $400 million of the ARRA grants, “and we expect to spend them all” by the September 2017 deadline.

In other words, 2017 will see a flurry of construction activity on HSR. For that to be sustained over the long term, California will have to shore up the cap-and-trade system and seek other revenue sources, as the hopes of federal money have likely faded for some time to come.

Of course, it wouldn’t be California HSR if there wasn’t a group of people ready to sue once again to try and stop the project:

At the public board meeting, though, attorney Stuart Flashman announced he had submitted a new lawsuit challenging the legality of AB1889, a bill rushed through the Legislature last year that changed previous laws to allow high-speed rail bonds to be spent on electrification. That funding use fell outside the scope of what voters approved, Flashman said, and only voters can change it.

The lawsuit submitted Tuesday in Sacramento County Court on behalf of Kings County, the Town of Atherton and several residents, alleges the legislation was unconstitutional, Flashman said.

Kings County and Atherton continue to waste taxpayer dollars on lawsuits that they always lose. These people will bring a lawsuit the day HSR is scheduled to begin service to try and stop it. They’ll sue to stop a train dead in the tracks in the middle of the Central Valley. They’ll sue to stop HSR as long as they are financially able to do so.

At some point you’d think the state would seek to have these folks declared vexatious litigants. None of their suits have any merit and they’re clearly designed to reduce eight straight years of defeat in the legislature and the ballot box. HSR construction will carry on in spite of them.

  1. car(e)-free LA
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 16:10
    #1

    That’s terrific news.

    OT, but I am forming a coalition called Metro Done Right to lobby for an optimized Metro system in Los Angeles, representing LA’s transit constituency. We’re currently laying the groundwork for it, and we hope to have it up and running by February. You can see the first of our plans on this post here: http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/showpost.php?p=7636106&postcount=3646

    If you support this, I would love it if you could tell everybody you know about it and fill out this form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vIz…requested=true , so we can start building a base of support. Thank you.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The link to the form is actually this: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1vIzTmyrrBhpyoDcGuBTGbyZcG47Mb1_5tUpXSqXptCk/viewform?edit_requested=true

  2. StevieB
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 16:21
    #2

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority board voted Tuesday to solicit qualifications from commercial operators for an early consulting and operating deal.

    Board chair Dan Richard emphasized the importance of the action.

    “What happened today is important because what it says to people is that regardless of all those other things, regardless of what they’ve heard, there is real momentum. California is building high-speed rail. There are almost a thousand people working directly on the project right now.”…

    By 2029, when the full Phase 1 of the system is due to begin operations south from Bakersfield to Los Angeles and Anaheim, the current cost estimate is $64 billion. The combination of Prop 1A bond funds ($9 billion), federal stimulus grants ($3.5 billion) and cap-and-trade revenues ($30 billion under the most optimistic forecast) still leaves more than $21 billion to be found somewhere.

    That’s the gap that Richard says that a commercial operator will help close. Signing a deal with an early operator as a consultant on decisions affecting the commercial viability of the system, which, by law, must operate without subsidy, is key to the success of that aspect of the project.

    “In the future we will be auctioning off the rights to operate on this infrastructure to a rail operator,” Richard said. “We don’t want them to come in at that point and say ‘Wait a minute. Why did you put the maintenance facility here? Why did you do this? It really makes it less valuable for me.’ We want to enhance the value and get the biggest check that we can from the private sector. And that means getting someone in with that commercial experience early and infusing those ideas into the design, to really maximize the value of this enterprise when it goes into full commercial operation.”

    Jerry Reply:

    “Wait a minute. Why did you put the Maintenance Facility here?”
    Good question.
    So it seems that an actual rail operator will be helping to make the Maintenance Facility location decision.

    Clem Reply:

    “Wait, why did you run the main line via Palmdale?”
    “Wait, why are you not trying to go after the Bay Area to Sacramento market?”
    This is a decade too late…

    StevieB Reply:

    Palmdale is important to the economic development of the state of California and is poorly served by Metrolink and SR14. What do you gain by bypassing the citizens of this under connected area?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    And don’t say time and money, because there are new Eastern tunnel alignments that address this, and HSR should/will connect to Vegas someday, and Palmdale is the best way to accomplish this.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But Tejon Ranch!

    synonymouse Reply:

    California really should be divided into 2 states, then SoCal could pursue its airhead obsession with Las Vegas and consummate an annexation or something.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Underprivileged Palmdale can be assisted by relocating San Quentin there.

    Joe Reply:

    Your affordable senior center room is waiting in Palmdale.

    Anyone putting up with you over the years will know value when they find it.

    synonymouse Reply:

    We’ll set up a special Gilroy-LV Flyer so you can drop your social security check out of state.

    StevieB Reply:

    Did you not see the Brown plan to move retirees to California City to free housing for employed families?

    Joe Reply:

    I’m sticking near the GLY HSR station and traveling.

    You’ll be in a home near the tracks in Palmdale. All these comments on HSR indicate great interest.
    You’ll watch those commuters whiz by your window.

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/dLRHdGrw9cQ?t=673

    zorro Reply:

    That will never happen Cyno, California is one state, the last time this question was held, 2 counties were in favor, and 56 counties were opposed to slicing California up, so it ain’t happening…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But what if those two counties secede?

    zorro Reply:

    They’ll not do that, cowards, if they were to try, there are the courts…

    zorro Reply:

    Oh and both counties are isolated from each other.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well in Germany we have the state of Bremen, which includes the cities of Bremen and Bremerhaven which are some 50 miles from each other and not physically connected.

    Roland Reply:

    I think we are good to go (as long as the tunnels are 4-6 tracks wide).

    Jerry Reply:

    Make that two or three decades too late.

    Jerry Reply:

    Dear Clem.
    Perhaps I am the only one who favors BOTH Altamont AND Pacheco.
    We (California) are the fifth largest economy in the WORLD.
    Our corporations have so much excess money that they hide it under mattresses in foreign countries.
    We can do better.
    Jerry

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Pacheco should be HSR–Altamont should be more like 60 MPH-120 MPH standard gauge BART style service. They serve two very different markets.

    wdobner Reply:

    No, Pacheco serves one market, and Altamont serves two markets. Pacheco gets you SF/SJ to LA but is useless for travel between the Bay and Sacramento, while Altamont serves both the SF/SJ-LA and SF-Sacto markets more than adequately. To me one of the bigger features of Altamont would be that San José would become a natural terminal, which would enable closer headways on the HSL trunk through the Central Valley without overwhelming the Caltrain corridor. That in turn would make things more convenient for the Southern California portion of the line.

    But that having been said, why “standard gauge BART” of all things, and why a draconian 60mph MAS? And where would this service operate if not between the HSRA’s stations? Are you envisioning an extended Dumbarton rail service connecting SF (or at least Redwood City) to Stockton? You’re almost certainly going to need to electrify, so you’re going to need a new right of way. At that point you may as well just build the SETEC route over Altamont, do Dumbarton, and find a way to hack a route for SJ bound trains through the south end of the bay from Fremont. Caltrain’s schedule will work out better, the CHSRA’s operator will be able to compete in the SF-Sacramento market, and travel time would likely be reduced. There really is no such case to be made for Pacheco.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Pacheco means San Jose gets an HSR station versus maybe someday getting one.

    wdobner Reply:

    Why would you assume that? The Setec proposal includes a route paralleling the existing ROW into San Jose Diridon. It’d be foolish to leave San Jose without a direct connection to the HSR network.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    People in San Jose would have two ways to get to an HSR station, BART or Caltrain. Why would they get a third when there are a lot of places in the state that don’t have any access? HSR to San Jose gets postponed to Phase Never.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    San Jose has more people than San Francisco, yet nobody questions their need for a station. San Jose is Californi’s third and America’s thenth largest city. Of course it needs a station. Besides, Pacheco is the only way to serve the 500K people around Gilroy.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I would still consider San Francisco to be more important than San Jose.

    But San Jose should definitely be served by HSR.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Sure, SF is a bigger tourist an business draw, but that doesn’t mean San Jose isn’t a very important city. Out of all of phase 1 HSR, the only stations more important than Dirdon are LAUS and TBT.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Agreed.

    San Jose is a clear number three behind Los Angeles and San Francisco.

    Joey Reply:

    There’s a really easy way to guarantee San Jose service – just build there first.

    Aarond Reply:

    Devil’s advocate: Pacheco is the better option as Santa Clara County itself will soon have a higher population than SF/Alameda, so they should be given direct HSR service (which an Altamont alignment would preclude). Pacheco also services a second greenfield market in Fresno (over time infill development would happen along the line which would gradually be expanded to facilitate both local and express trains).

    Altamont SF-Sac HSR would have to compete with the Capitol Corridor which has the superior corridor (in terms of the amount of density around it in Alameda and Contra Costa counties). This is especially true if SMART ever builds an extension to Fairfield, Martinez or Richmond.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    My thoughts 100%.

    wdobner Reply:

    Pacheco is the better option as Santa Clara County itself will soon have a higher population than SF/Alameda, so they should be given direct HSR service (which an Altamont alignment would preclude).

    Why would an Altamont route preclude service to San Jose or Santa Clara county? Again, the Setec proposal illustrates a route from Fremont to San Jose Diridon.

    As to the population of Santa Clara County, its by far and away concentrated in the north around the south end of the bay. Running the line south of San Jose Diridon through Gilroy and over Pacheco does nothing to improve their access to the train. In fact most of Santa Clara County would be better served by a Fremont or even a Livermore station along an Altamont alignment than a station in Gilroy.

    Pacheco also services a second greenfield market in Fresno

    IOW Los Banos? Chowchilla is far enough north of Fresno that there is no functional difference between an Altamont alignment and a Pacheco alignment around that city. So in what way would Pacheco enable sprawl development (are you counting that as a positive?) around an infill station near Fresno that Altamont does not?

    Altamont SF-Sac HSR would have to compete with the Capitol Corridor which has the superior corridor

    Which it would do handily. Setec gives a Sacto-SF run time of 1 hour, but IMHO with the slower operation along the Caltrain corridor it’d be more likely to be a 1 hr 15 min trip. That’s still far faster than anything that can be achieved upgrading the Capitol Corridor to 125mph operation. At best an upgraded corridor could deliver a 90 minute trip between Oakland and Sacramento, but that’s extremely optimistic.

    The biggest point in Altamont’s provision for Bay Area to Sacramento service is that it’s free, included in the cost of SF/SJ to LA via Altamont, and thus quite unlike an expensive upgrade to the Capitol Corridor.

    (in terms of the amount of density around it in Alameda and Contra Costa counties).

    All that means is that it’s going to be an absolute nightmare to straighten the ROW, particularly south of Martinez. All you’ve stated is that the Capitol Corridor is clearly the route best suited to commuter rail investment, while Altamont is preferably for high speed rail.

    Aarond Reply:

    Santa Clara + Alameda Counties have a higher population than SF + San Mateo, that right there is why it’s better for HSR service as there are more customers. While the route does need some work in Contra Costa County and Oakland, it’s fixable.

    Also, the CapCor is far better integrated with BART sharing three stations (Richmond, Coliseum, soon Diridon) which offers SF residents a more convenient transfer than walking to the new TTC or waiting at Milbrae.

    As for Setec’s proposal, it’s not nearly as convenient as SJ would be at best a branch line and not on the core system. It’s also a branch line that will soon be served by BART, who (if the proposal was used) would make a case for nixing it as it would be duplicative of their future Diridon service. In the real world, BART will eventually make a similar case against the CapCor.

    wdobner Reply:

    Santa Clara + Alameda Counties have a higher population than SF + San Mateo, that right there is why it’s better for HSR service as there are more customers.

    But Alameda will not be served by a Pacheco alignment at all. OTOH Altamont would potentially serve Alameda County if a station were added in Fremont or Livermore. And again, most of Santa Clara’s population will be served by a San Jose Diridon station, and thus are agnostic to an approach from the north via Altamont or the south via Pacheco.

    While the route does need some work in Contra Costa County and Oakland, it’s fixable.

    Only with billions and billions of dollars to straighten the route south of Martinez. And even then that’d only provide the barest equity with trip times Altamont would provide for free once LA-Sacramento and SF/SJ-Sacramento are built out.

    Also, the CapCor is far better integrated with BART sharing three stations (Richmond, Coliseum, soon Diridon) which offers SF residents a more convenient transfer than walking to the new TTC or waiting at Milbrae.

    Except that TTC is in San Francisco. It offers direct transfers to Muni routes, as well as those in Alameda County who use a bus across the Bay Bridge. And of course there would actually be destinations within the walk-shed of TBT.

    As for Setec’s proposal, it’s not nearly as convenient as SJ would be at best a branch line and not on the core system.

    No more so than Sacramento would be a branch. I’d argue SJ would be equal in importance to San Francisco, especially given the constraints of the Caltrain corridor. Having three northern terminals would allow a very high level of service along the Central Valley Trunk without overwhelming the blended route approach to SF and the undersized terminal.

    It’s also a branch line that will soon be served by BART, who (if the proposal was used) would make a case for nixing it as it would be duplicative of their future Diridon service.

    Why would BART care about a parallel service which makes at most one station stop near them? Talk about serving completely different markets.

    Aarond Reply:

    SJ to Fremont is 20 miles, it’s a branch line off the “core” HSR system one which would get a BART connection long before SJ HSR is ever considered. By that point, BART would make the case that a Fremont transfer is good enough.

    This is what is going to happen in real life but with Alameda, BART will of course oppose any sort of HSR plan there because it’ll cut into their game. Admittedly this is speculative, but I wouldn’t put BART above it especially as HSR service directly into SF through any route that isn’t Caltrain is duplicative of existing BART service.

    As for the TTC it doesn’t have a direct BART connection and Alameda riders won’t bother with a transbay trip and instead would transfer at Fremont (with an Altamont alignment) or at Diridon (with a Pacheco one).

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Altamont serves the Stockton/Tracy/Modesto-Bay Area commute market. Pacheco, through serving Gilroy and San Jose, gives you intercity rail. The capitol corridor gives you the optimal Bay Area-Sac 120 MPH market.

    Joey Reply:

    And how exactly do you plan to get the Capitol Corridor up to 120 MPH? Union Pacific has basically said that they will never accept higher speeds or electrification on their tracks, so you have to build a new ROW the entire way. And to get any reasonable speeds on the Richmond-Martinez segment, you’re looking at a lot of tunneling.

    Aarond Reply:

    Do what BART did: a second isolated system next to the existing one with an underpass at the Iron Triangle. Phase II money makes this plausible.

    The only real problem is the 15 miles from Pinole to Bencia, which features bayside single-track bordered by a UP customer (C&H sugar) and the bases to the Carquinez bridges. Also a Valero refinery. This would require a total rebuild, and would be the biggest pissing match because any alterations to the coast (say, fill to straighten the ROW) will get a court fight.

    To that end, this is the point where SMART could build a Richmond rail bridge (and a Wingo cutoff) and CapCor trains could be rerouted through the North Bay instead.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Like this: https://s29.postimg.org/67hpwvm5z/bay_area.png

    wdobner Reply:

    But why go through all this trouble and expense for a slower SF-Sacramento trip than Altamont? I’m not arguing for the Cap Corridor to be eliminated, but trying to use a very expensive upgrade to justify the poor performance of Pacheco in serving the SF-Sacramento market is a completely unsupportable argument.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Because Dirdon and Gilroy serve about 2 million people (San Jose, South Valley, Monterrey Co, Santa Cruz Co, San Benito Co.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    the same way Altamont gets service faster than a bicycle ride. By spending lots of money.

    wdobner Reply:

    Because Dirdon and Gilroy serve about 2 million people (San Jose, South Valley, Monterrey Co, Santa Cruz Co, San Benito Co.

    Diridon is not being debated. I make no argument that San Jose requires a station. You make my case for me, the population in Santa Clara County is concentrated to the north end and are better served by an Altamont corridor, particularly with a station in Fremont or Livermore. But Gilroy’s whopping 50,000 residents can easily enough find other means to get to Diridon to reach a CHSRA train.

    the same way Altamont gets service faster than a bicycle ride. By spending lots of money.

    Except that for the Sacramento-SJ/SF trip an Altamont alignment is free after you finish paying for the Sacto-LA and SF/SJ-LA trips. So any money spent upgrading the Cap Corridor to make up for just how pathetic Pacheco is for Northern California intercity trips is completely wasted.

    Joe Reply:

    Santa Clara wants Pacheco alignment because the county is better served.

    You can’t argue that removing a Santa Clara county station, Gilroy, better serves Santa Clara co.

    Joe Reply:

    Ariging a Gilroy station serves just the 50,000 residents is bogus and dishonest.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Gilroy serves 500K residents, the same as Palmdale and more than Bakersfield.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s not free. It costs a lot of money that people with priorities that are different than yours decided to spend other places.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    No, but you can make a very good case for serving 2 million more people with Pacheco, plus spending about 1 billion to cut 40 min off SF-Sacramento travel time via Cap Cor vs serving Altamont.

    Joe Reply:

    Gilroy serves Monterey Co.

    The aquarium alone has 1 million visitors a year.

    Joey Reply:

    Gilroy serves 500K residents, the same as Palmdale and more than Bakersfield.

    Metro Bakersfield is 800K

    1 billion to cut 40 min off SF-Sacramento travel time

    Good luck building a completely new ROW, including extensive tunneling and a major water crossing, for $1b…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Joey. Fine, Bakersfield was calculated incorrectly, but that’s beside the point.

    All that needs to happen to cut 40 mins is to build a double track railway spur from the Martinez side of the bridge along the 680 to Walnut Creek BART, and to bring sections of the line from Benicia to West Sacramento up to 90MPH by adding new tracks.

    Joey Reply:

    Few problems

    1) What do you do between Oakland (SF?) and Walnut Creek? There’s not any free ROW

    2) The bridge is part of UP trackage, meaning no electrification and no higher frequency than what currently exists. Hard to justify all this infrastructure if you only plan to run 16 trains per direction per day…

    3) Benicia-West Sacramento is pretty simple but not completely. There’s very little additional space through Fairfield and Davis.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Joey
    1. You do nothing. You have a BART transfer at Contra Costa Centre station–at least at first. This would reduce total travel times from Embarcadero Station to Sacramento Valley Station by 40 minutes, including time on BART and transfer time. One seat rides are overrated.
    2. Yes it is part of UP trackage. With the minimal new infrastructure required, it is worth the money. However, I’m sure that the 16 trains per direction per day could increase somewhat.
    3. If IDOT could pull off a very similar project from Dwight to Alton, then I’m sure this could work too.

    Joey Reply:

    1) Ok, then you have effectively excluded all peak trips because BART fills up in the peak direction. The new cars will help somewhat but there’s probably enough latent demand that that space will fill up pretty fast

    2) It’s part of UP’s main transcon line to the Port of Oakland, so they have in the past been rather touchy about it. They previously stated that they didn’t want any new passenger trains on this line, and that they didn’t want any electrification

    3) My understanding of that project is that it was for a handful of trains per day. I believe they built a single new track on the existing ROW (which is sufficient for such a small number of trains), and acceptable to UP given that they continue to use FRA-compliant diesels (the FRA rules have changed somewhat since then but I’m skeptical that UP’s position on lighter trains has).

    wdobner Reply:

    How can the Capitol Corridor be “optimal” if it’s not going to deliver a direct SF-Sacramento trip? Even if it could do so that trip would still be between 15 minutes and a half hour slower than an Altamont route. Even assuming an unrealistic case where the train achieves 125mph at Martinez, flies through Suisan Bay and Fairfield at 125mph, and instantly brakes to current average speed at Davis, you only get a trip time from Oakland to Sacramento of 80 minutes. Even a conservative estimate of average speeds on an Altamont alignment (80mph between TBT and Dumbarton, 125mph Dumbarton to Tracy, and 150mph from Tracy to Sacramento) provides for a direct SF-SAC trip of 75 minutes. As Setec illustrated travel times of just 1 hour are possible between San Francisco and Sacramento via Altamont.

    Would you envision negotiating with Union Pacific to upgrade their tracks, or would you construct a new set of tracks paralleling theirs? Either way you’re looking at a considerably expense which is wholly unnecessary when Altamont delivers a superior travel time directly between SF/SJ and Sacramento. Rather than plugging money at a subpar solution like upgrading the Capitol Corridor you’d be best off shuffling Caltrain’s diesel hauled push-pulls to the Capitol Corridor to provide commuter service in both the Bay Area and on either side of Sacramento.

    And how isn’t Gilroy a part of the Bay Area commute market to a greater degree than Stockton?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    With no upgrades to Cap Cor except an extension from the foot of the Carquinez bridge to Walnut Creek BART, the trip from Embarcadero BART to Sacramento Valley Station would take 2:00 (including transfers). Bringing the Cap Cor’s straight stretches of track north of Carquinez up to 90 MPH (by adding another track in select locations) could easily bring that time down to 1:40. That is the same as driving with no traffic, and way faster with traffic. A Cap Cor trip that takes 1:40 vs 1:15 over Altamont is a worthy sacrifice for direct HSR service to Dirdon and Gilroy. For minimal investment, it is 40 min faster than the BART-Cap Cor transfer at Richmond.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    You are onto something carefree. North of the bridge a route could connect to SMART to bring Northbay workers to Contra Costa jobs, easing traffic on three bridges. Meanwhile the MTC should be negotiating to add a track toward Sac

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Neal Shea
    I made a couple of maps to show possible operational patterns of this proposal
    This one is just the basic operations with just the new track proposed above: https://s29.postimg.org/pv9rbtnev/fazone.png
    This one is more of a fantasy map, but not unreasonably so: https://s23.postimg.org/6xcthbkgb/numbatoo.png

    Roland Reply:

    March 21st 2012:
    “The Authority’s general concept of public funding for infrastructure in combination with a private operator that earns an operating surplus that might repay a portion, but certainly not all, of the investment cost is consistent with international practice. Unfortunately, it is not consistent with the Authority’s committed funding, and it places the Authority in the position of making a number of design decisions that might better be made by the eventual operator and could have liability consequences for the State.”
    http://www.cahsrprg.com/files/comments_on_draft.pdf (page 3)

  3. Bahnfreund
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 16:34
    #3

    So just a quick question, the Prop 1A funds… Will they appear in the general budget as “new credits” or will they appear only in the budget of CaHSR and have to be repaid by CaHSR? Or something else entirely?

    StevieB Reply:

    General obligation bonds are backed by the state, meaning that the state is required to
    pay the principal and interest costs on these bonds.

    Bond financing is a type of long-term borrowing that the state uses to raise money for various purposes. The state obtains this money by selling bonds to investors. In exchange, it agrees to repay this money, with interest, according to a specified schedule.

    General obligation bonds must be approved by the voters and their repayment is guaranteed by the state’s general taxing power. Most of these are directly paid off from the state’s General Fund, which is largely supported by tax revenues.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But could the State of California create a company owned by the state that takes out a loan that is not backed by general revenue but by the (future) profits of said company?

    Joe Reply:

    Secured by what?

    No we can’t but our president elect can and I propose he buy a personal stake in HSR.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Secured by the assets of the company.

    How do private companies ever take out loans in your world?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    is there literally any part of the law you want to follow?

    synonymouse Reply:

    Yeah, Palmdale primacy, patently.

    StevieB Reply:

    Revenue Bonds are allowed under the SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY so I wonder if you have read the law.

    Section 2704.07. The authority shall pursue and obtain other private and public funds, including, but not limited to, federal funds, funds from revenue bonds, and local funds, to augment the proceeds of this chapter.

    What Types of Bonds Does the State Sell? The
    state sells three major types of bonds to finance
    projects. These are:
    • General Obligation Bonds.
    • Lease-Revenue Bonds
    • Traditional Revenue Bonds. These also
    finance capital projects but are not supported
    by the General Fund. Rather, they are paid off
    from a designated revenue stream generated by
    the projects they finance—such as bridge tolls.
    These bonds also are not guaranteed by the
    state’s general taxing power and do not require
    voter approval.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    we were talking about the original 9 billion, those are general obligation.

    But good luck on those revenue bonds. You have 2 shots. Cap and Trade and Revenue from the system.

    Good luck

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    We can also raise taxes.

    The gas tax for instance.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I have to say, for a socialist you sure love regressive taxes. Gas tax, tolls, congestion charges.

    Why not go for a VAT and just skip to the chase.

    What did the working poor and lower middle class ever do to you?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Cars are a luxury.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They aren’t regressive, just the magic hand of the market working it’s wonders. You do want the government to stay out of markets as much as possible don’t you?

    A VAT would do a lot of things. Mostly shut up the zealots who whine about double taxation. Level the playing field between corporation A that has it’s fingers in a bit of everything and is able to shift losses and tax incentives around to end up with no tax bill and corporation B that can’t do that. The tax lawyers and accountants would hate it, it’s relatively straight forward and cheap to administer. The tax cheats would hate it even more since it’s very very difficult to avoid.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    And be regressive. You forgot that part.

    The poor pay a higher percentage of their income on gas (gas tax), goods (VAT) and tolls. And any tax is the government influencing markets, that is unavoidable.

    Tax evasion isn’t a problem in the US, it’s only a problem in countries that all seem to have VATs? Hmmm, a coincidence I am sure.

    The problem that you are trying to “solve” is how the USA can tax international profits of US companies. It’s not a problem to solve because it’s not a problem. Apple paid taxes in the jurisdiction they earned the profit. Including the US.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The problem is that transit isn’t good enough that the poor (and rich) feel like owning a car and buying gas is a good use of their money.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    A rich country is not a country in which poor people drive everywhere but a country in which rich people take public transit.

    What can be more socially progressive than a gas tax hike to finance better transit service? You can even write something into the law like “Half of this tax hike has to be spent on buses” if you subscribe to the weird believe that trains are only for rich people and buses are only for poor people.

  4. J. Wong
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 16:47
    #4

    Like I said, the opponents have filed, but they’re going to have to ask for a specific (temporary) injunction to prevent disbursement of funds. What the court does with that will be significant.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    As a teacher of mine used to say: In courts of law and on the high seas only god himself knows what will happen…

    Jerry Reply:

    Your teacher was obviously a sexist.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    God is grammatically male in German. The word for female god is a different word…

    Jerry Reply:

    ‘god himself’
    or
    herself ?
    :-)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    In the original German it was “der liebe Gott” – you do the translating legwork yourself…

  5. synonymouse
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 19:12
    #5

    Clearly you have no idea of what a “vexatious litigant” constitutes. Furthermore we all know the anti-PB dissidents have no chance in hell of a fair hearing in a Democratic Party machine court. You might as well be in Turkey or No. Korea. I guess you could give up all pretense and have Jerry rule by diktat.

    Jeez, you have to give the judges something to adjudicate. You want them to play video games?

    Alan Reply:

    Vexatious litigation is legal action which is brought, regardless of its merits, solely to harass or subdue an adversary. It may take the form of a primary frivolous lawsuit or may be the repetitive, burdensome, and unwarranted filing of meritless motions in a matter which is otherwise a meritorious cause of action.

    Vexatious litigation – Wikipedia

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

    Sounds exactly like Kings County, and Laurel and Hardy.

    What Is a Vexatious Litigant?

    Under Code of Civil Procedure section 391(b), a vexatious litigant is a person who does any of the following:

    …snip…

    After a litigation has been finally determined against the person, repeatedly relitigates or attempts to relitigate, in propria persona, either (i) the validity of the determination against the same defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined or (ii) the cause of action, claim, controversy, or any of the issues of fact or law, determined or concluded by the final determination against the same defendant or defendants as to whom the litigation was finally determined.

    One could argue that Michael Brady is litigating in propria persona to advance his personal agenda, using sock puppet plaintiffs and willing co-counsel…

    Don’t worry, Syno, the courts have plenty to do even without L&H’s frivolous lawsuits…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    the last case was reversed on appeal. So on its face it had merit, the first judge even found for the Plaintiffs.

    If the sued again for the same thing that would be vexatious litigation. This suit is about the new bill that changed prop 1a or did not change it, depending on your point of view. A different point altogether.

    Its not even close

    Joe Reply:

    Shorter JOHN:
    “The unconstitutional lower court ruling proves the plaintiff’s case had merit.”

    Today’s Mercury News:

    “We do understand that the opponents continue to look for ways to continue to challenge the expenditure of these funds but they’ve consistently failed in that and the direction of the Legislature has continually been upheld and we feel confident that this will still be upheld,” Zingale said.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. No one has said the lower court ruling was unconstitutional. There are other parts of the law besides the constitution.

    2. Yes, the Judge, an independant arbitor, found merit to the case. So that makes it non-vexatious on its face. How can it be without merit, but win?

    Joe Reply:

    Kenney unconstitutionally violated the separation of powers. Basic fundamental law.

    The plaintiffs lawsuit was incompetently written. They asked for meaningless remedies, rescend and resubmit a informational funding plan due prior to Leglislature vote. The Leglislature voted. The plan had no further purpose and rewrite had no impact on outcome. Meaningless remedies are not lawful.

    Kenney saw this so he innovated and directed how the Leglislature was supposed to conduct their constitutional duties.

    FFS this is publicly available information.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You know I have been on this board long enough to remember when you thought Kennedy walked on water when he ruled for HSR in the 1st lawsuit. I believe you called him an honest impartial arbiter.

    Funny how your opinion of him changes when he rules against you

    Joe Reply:

    Fabricated nonsense.

    You’re chasing the hypocrisy argument — also known as “troll’s mithril”.
    I’m Maia. No troll memory can undo the light.

    HSR agree with lawful opinions and never waiver about HSR. It’s about the law and not a flawed man.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The law is created by man.

    Alan Reply:

    The only thing that matters is the final result. The final result is that the Court of Appeal found that Judge Kenney was wrong, and that the State should prevail. Your argument is like saying that the Indians should have been declared winners of the World Series when they went up 3 games to 1 against the Cubs–forgetting that there were still 3 more games to play. Sorry, but the game has to be played until the last out.

    Because Judge Kenney was correct in a previous case does not prevent him from being wrong in a subsequent ruling.

    Perhaps it’s time for the chief judge in Sacramento Superior Court to start assigning HSR cases to another judge. One can argue that Judge Kenney now has a great deal of experience in a very complicated subject, but it can also be argued that he’s been so close to the case for so long that he can no longer see the forest for the trees. It can be further argued that Judge Kenney has seen the same litigants and the same counsel in so many HSR cases that no matter how hard he tries, his personal feelings may start to come into play. That’s when it’s beyond doubt that a fresher approach is called for.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That is not my argument at all. I simply stayed the suit can’t be without merit when an independent arbiter, even if overturned, thought it was with merit.

    There is no evidence Kennedy is biased or that he should be replaced. He has ruled repeatidly for HSR including the last case. You should not besmirch a man for doing his job

    Alan Reply:

    The “independent arbiter”, Judge Kenny (not “Kennedy”) was wrong. The Court of Appeal found the plaintiffs’ case to be without merit. In the end, that’s all that matters.

    Alan Reply:

    Of course it’s close. The entire strategy of Flashman, Brady, and their cohorts has been nothing short of a jihad against the HSR project. They *have* been suing for essentially “the same thing”–that the HSR project is illegal in one way or another. The only things that change are a few of the details.

    Taken as a whole, the repeated litigation meets the dictionary definition of “vexatious”, if not the CCP definition. But even if it doesn’t meet the California definition, it’s far past the point where the State Bar should step in.

    Whether or not the trial court judge thought there was merit is in the long run irrelevant. What matters is the final disposition of the case, which was against the plaintiffs.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Flashman’s points and arguments are substantial; the cheerleaders just don’t like them.

    Don’t fret – Jerry and his judges just make up shit as they go merrily along.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    to be without merit, it would have to be obvious to everyone. The judge, an independent arbiter, found merit. The bar for vexatious litigation is actually very very high for a reason

    In the US, when you disagree with something you sue. That is how we deal with dissension in a civil society. In other countries, they dont let people sue. So they physically attack, or sabatoage, or whatever. Let them have their day in court.

    Joe Reply:

    It’s obvious.

    The last lawsuit over the EIR was tossed quickly. When plaintiffs demand diesel trains should be considered under CEQA, we entered into obvious.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It is very clear what the intent of those lawsuits is…

    Alan Reply:

    They have had their day. And another day, and yet more days. As Joe and Bahnfreund point out, the intent of the new litigation is obvious. Stop the HSR project by any means possible. Come up with a tweak on an old argument to make it look different, and hope that the judges are not smart enough to notice.

    John, there is a line between having one’s rightful day in court, and abusing that right beyond reason. Flashman, Brady, et. al., have crossed that line repeatedly and deserve whatever smackdown the courts and/or State Bar can offer.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Replace HSR with gay marriage and now what is your opinion? We are talking about revoking the right of redress. Its a high bar for a reason.

    Part of this is structural. When the courts ruled you could not stop the project until the hey actually built, rather than on the plan it kicked the cam down the road. How would it be fair to say “you can’t sue before it is built” then after it is built say “too late, it’s built”.

    The are not being subjected to anything that large infrastructure projects don’t always get

    Joe Reply:

    Replace a lawsuit against a construction project with an inalienable human right.

    Trolling 101
    Instruction john nachtigall

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    That’s the way the basic rights work joe, they apply to everyone on all subjects. Hence the term asic…and right.

    He has a right to ask for redress from the government

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    And later on they can whine that the Authority spent too much money defending lawsuits. Page 147 in the BANANA handbook.

    Joe Reply:

    Sorry John:
    Not at all true – inalienable rights are … inalienable. Bestowed onto us by our humanity.

    Suing HSR isn’t rooted in an inalienable right.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Is demanding redress from your government an inalliableb right? I can prove for sure it is a Constritutional right. I will let you split the other hair.

    Joe Reply:

    Demanding redress is alienable.
    That “right” can be limited and is limited.
    While rare the Feds can use binding arbitration.

    Now I understand you want to blur the fact this is about your opinion we have an inalienable to litigate construction projects.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Conflating the “right” to vexatious litigation about construction projects you don’t like with real and actual human rights is a bit thick, isn’t it?

    Jerry Reply:

    Old saying:
    It depends on whose ox is being gored.

    morris brown Reply:

    @Alan

    None of your postings deserve any reply — they are nothing more than personal attacks and have not substance or truth. In short you are a SOB

    Mike Brady has essentially retired from active practice; all of his work on HSR and related has been probono. You don’t know Jack S___. I am just fed up with your snide remarks; it you don’t have anything useful to write than don’t write.

    Jerry Reply:

    Morris. Happy you responded. Sorry it was regarding “snide remarks”.
    Most of us know what you are “against”.
    I have asked you a number of times — What are you “for”??
    No one has all the answers, but constant negative attacks get no one anywhere.

    Jerry Reply:

    Your area Morris, adds more jibs, but not more housing. (Over 4,000 jobs at Facebook alone.)
    Just yesterday, the Menlo Park Planning Commission approved a new development on El Camino Real.
    A development that reportedly adds 25% MORE TRAFFIC to YOUR area.

    Jerry Reply:

    jobs

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Not that that development shouldn’t go forward. There should just be a couple of 15 story condo towers next door.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    as well.

    Jerry Reply:

    It’s not about the development car-(e)-free. It’s about Morris.
    It’s just simply that it is going on in Morris’ neighborhood. In Menlo Park.
    A neighborhood that will have a 25% traffic increase. Which has three at grade crossings.
    A development which has been approved. In an area which Morris lives in. In an area that has been studying the at grade crossings for decades. In an area that has had a woman killed at an at grade crossing. And they still DO NOT HAVE A PLAN for the at grade crossings.

    Jerry Reply:

    You car-(e) free can provide at least a two sentence response.
    But Morris? Nothing.
    Except to file a lawsuit which is basically to stop HSR.
    Will he amend his lawsuit to have the Prop 1A money to be spent on the at grade crossings problems on the Peninsula instead of being spent on electrification of CalTrain? Who knows?
    He never responds with anything positive.
    Which gives rise to the label —– NIMBY.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You know what’s my favorite way to deal with grade crossings?

    Eliminate the crossing road.

    Also solves the traffic problems.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That happens a lot of the time, but you cant get rid of all of them. That’s why overpasses/underpasses/trenches/viaducts/tunnels were invented.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Of course.

    But roads are too often considered sacrosanct in the US.

    Alan Reply:

    In an area where people built far too close to an active rail line, with the naiive belief that nothing would ever change. With people whose idea of America is in black and white, with the Cleaver family living down the street from the Nelson’s and the Ricardos and Mertz’s…

    Jerry Reply:

    Grade crossings and electrification are only a small part of complex problems.
    Please add your intelligence, understanding, and wisdom to possible SOLUTIONS.
    Change is inevitable. Conflict is inevitable.
    How we all handle change and conflict defines who we are, and what we shall become.

    Jerry Reply:

    But he can respond to Alan.
    And Morris then calls Alan an SOB.

    StevieB Reply:

    @morris brown
    That Mike Brady is retired from active practice and works on HSR pro bono is an argument in favor of his work being to advance his personal agenda. California High-Speed Rail is for the greater good of all Californians so to work against it is to oppose public benefit for private gain.

    Jerry Reply:

    Can Mr. Brady use his “pro bono” work as a tax deduction? ?

    StevieB Reply:

    The work is not actually “pro bono” because it is not for the public good. The term “pro bono,” which is short for pro bono publico, is a Latin term that means “for the public good.” Although the term is used in different contexts to mean “the offering of free services,” it has a very specific meaning to those in the legal profession.

    What is pro bono?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What if you defend a member of a certain Irish music group?

    Alan Reply:

    One is led to wonder if Brady is taking some $$$ under the table from the interests who oppose HSR. It’s hard to understand why someone would work so hard against the public will unless he was somehow profiting from it.

    Joe Reply:

    I think not.
    It’s a high profile case.

    I think a retired lawyer, with some savings, would have unexpected time on his hands and be attracted to the case.

    Academics retire and stick around since they haven’t anything else to do. Professionals can lack hobbies.

    Alan Reply:

    Morris, you’re certainly not one to lecture anyone about name calling. Whether or not Brady takes any payment is irrelevant. He’s misusing the California courts to try to advance his personal agenda.

    Seems like I’ve struck a nerve. Morris can’t come up with a cogent response to my statement that AB 1889 is fully constitutional, and he can’t come up with any other reasonable arguments, so he resorts to schoolyard bullying tactics and name calling.

    Morris, I’ll post here whenever I choose to do so, and I’ll continue to call you out on your lies. If you don’t like it, too bad. You’re not the arbiter of what I deem useful to write, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let the likes of you intimidate me. I’m tired of your sanctimonious, holier-than-thou attitude and your lies, and I don’t think I’m the only one.

    Morris is scared s***less because HSR construction is proceeding, despite all the efforts you and your cohorts have made to try and stop it, and now the Legislature has made it easier for electrification to begin on the Caltrain line. And BTW, I’m not someone who was stupid enough to buy a home near an active rail line, thinking that nothing would ever change.

    Jerry Reply:

    Vexatious. Litigation.
    Please be careful of what you wish for.
    In the age of Trump, the law, and litigation may be all we have.
    McCarthyism would be a piece of cake compared to what we might have in the future.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But Trump will be able to do a lot of court packing on the federal level because the repugnant party has blocked a lot of federal court appointments…

    Jerry Reply:

    Simple lesson. Simple sentence.
    “I didn’t say he killed him.”
    One sentence with SIX different meanings.
    Depending upon which ONE of the SIX different words is emphasized.

  6. Aarond
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 20:49
    #6

    “We’re ready to fight” – Jerry Brown on Trump:

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-we-re-ready-to-fight-says-gov-jerry-1481739836-htmlstory.html

    Among other things he stated that if Trump nixed NASA’s climatology satellites “we [california] will launch our own”, and that “we have more sun than you [Texas, in regards to incoming Energy Sec Rick Perry] has oil”.

    Fighting climate change costs money, this includes CAHSR. Given the 2/3rds supermajority, perhaps we might see a gas tax increase for it.

    Joe Reply:

    You’d be surprised that the 880/101 interchange would fund a climate monitoring program with satellites. It’s about 1B for one interchange and NASA earth related budget is under 2B a year.

    After ten years, I went to the AGU to see former colleagues. Saw Gov Brown and some protests the other day. Also saw that Volvo Uber driving around. Good food and crowds. sadly driving due to crappy Caltrain service. Three trains to Gilroy with the last outbound at 5:20.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Would that be the most expensive interchange ever? Seriously–how bad is it, and what are they adding–a 4 level express lane stack interchange over the existing thing? What the hell could make is that big of a deal.

    Joe Reply:

    Busy interchange and it’s needs to operate as they build.
    It will be a very tall interchange with high ramps.

    Also satellites are getting cheaper, algorithms are proven and robust. Ground computing is low cost compared to the 80’s when I cut my teeth and we did about everything from scratch but image atmospheric corrections.

    I’m out of the field now but the monitoring tech was build in the late 80’s and SW in the early 90’s.

    Meanwhile roads are roads.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why don’t they just raise the toll on the road to deal with existing capacity constraints?

    That bloody interchange will never pay for itself.

    Joe Reply:

    We don’t have it tolled. People pay taxes and expect this work.
    The amount of economic related traffic on the interchange makes it worth redoing.

    We ain’t talking about a bridge in Alaska.

    A satellite system to monitor the earth is affordable nowadays. The sensor tech and data processing are well known. Sensors can piggyback on other platforms or payloads on other launches.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Tolls should still occur. They are the ONLY way to get rid of congestion in the area, with the added benefits of less emissions and more revenue. People aren’t constitutionally entitled to free controlled access highways.

    Joe Reply:

    Bottom line is we can discourage economic development and reduce congestion.

    Many solutions to congestion harm the economy. Let’s toll bay bridge 20.00. Traffic will go down. People will quit working there. Hurray transit hobbits are proven right!!!

    Far better to entice alternative commutes with lower fares and better service.
    Better to reduce parking requirements and let parking fees reflect true cost — a new law removes them for inlaw units near public transit.

    Better to mandate affordable housing – inlaw units and higher density infill without parking requirements.

    EJ Reply:

    This. So much US Transit advocacy seems to boil down to, well, we can’t get funding for transit improvements, let’s just make driving worse.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    If there is this much congestion, a toll wont cause economic damage. Clearly, the economy is doing well with demand like this. It will just reduce congestion and be a source of revenue that can be used for more infrastructure.

    Joe Reply:

    Reduce demand means fewer workers.
    For Fucks Sake people. A plague will reduce congestion.

    We want improved transit.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Obviously we should want improved transit, a growing city, and a vibrant economy. Charging drivers the market value for using g the luxury of interchanges doesn’t negatively affect any of these goals. There isn’t a constitutional guarantee to subsidised personal mobility.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It’s a democracy. Do you really think that the people want tolls? That they would elect representatives that want tolls? That they are willing to go from free to tolled highways?

    If you can get the votes you can make it happen.

    Keep in mind, those 146 our of 3000 counties with 1/2 the population (most of the democrats) are not enough to carry the House of Representatives or the Senate or apparently the Precidency

    Joe Reply:

    Shorter John
    “The Majority lost.”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Is there an electoral college for HOR or Senate? How about governorships and state houses?

    Short answer, the democrats have been losing power at all levels for 8 years because they are not in the majority

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s unfortunate that you haven’t been paying attention to the multiple Supreme Court decisions surrounding “one person one vote”. Governors get elected to whole states – one person one vote. State houses get elected the same way, so do county legislatures and municipal legislatures.

    Republicans aren’t in the majority either.
    According to WIkipedia Ms Clinton got 48.1 % of the vote and Mr. Trump 46 %. In the Senate Republicans got 42.4% of the vote and Democrats got 53.8 %. In the House Republicans got 49 % and the Democrats got 48 %. The Democrats won the popular vote for President and increased their seats in the Senate and the House.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @John. I think many people would take tolls and carbon taxes and gas taxes if it meant the money either went to new infrastructure and/or resulted in a reduced income/sales tax.

    joe Reply:

    2016 2.8 million more votes (as of today) were cast for Hillary.
    I can count.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Lol

    Explain to me how the electoral college, authorized by the Constitution, is “unconstitutional”. It’s in the document.

    This ridiculous 1 person 1 vote argument ignores the fact that every vote for federal office is “uneven”. When voters in Wyoming vote the get 2 senators. They have many fewer voters and get the same number of senators. So under this theory the Senate is also “unconstitutional”

    Same argument for states with 1 representative. Fewer voters get same representatives.

    It’s just rubbish.

    The GOP owns almost 2/3 of the states and all federal branches. Keep clapping Tinkerbell, the Democrats are in decline and the facts prove it. This was a presidential election year with a fired up,base against Trump and the blew it. In 2 years 25 democratic senators are up for election in an off year election….licking our lips for that one

    PS you know the senate vote advantage was because CA has 2 Dems running for the seat. It skewed the data.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Of course the electoral college and senate are constitutional. That doesn’t mean they aren’t idiotic. The constitution is severely flawed in several ways.

    FYI, the senate isn’t necessarily poised to go your way. Predictions thus far are:

    Arizona
    Jeff Flake (R) 49% R Lean R

    Florida
    Bill Nelson (D) 55% D Lean D

    Indiana
    Joe Donnelly (D) 50% D Lean D

    Maine
    Angus King (I) 53% I Lean D

    Michigan
    Debbie Stabenow (D) 59% D Likely D

    Missouri
    Claire McCaskill (D) 55% D Lean D

    Montana
    Jon Tester (D) 49% D Likely D

    Nevada
    Dean Heller (R) 46% R Lean R

    New Jersey
    Bob Menendez (D) 59% D Likely D

    North Dakota
    Heidi Heitkamp (D) 50% D Likely D

    Ohio
    Sherrod Brown (D) 51% D Lean D

    Pennsylvania
    Bob Casey (D) 54% D Likely D

    Virginia
    Tim Kaine (D) 53% D Likely D

    West Virginia
    Joe Manchin (D) 61% D Likely D

    Wisconsin
    Tammy Baldwin (D) 51% D Likely D

    And if the GOP proves its utter ineptitude (like thinking an oil executive is qualified to be secretary of state), then AZ, and NV could quite easily flip blue. Though it is possible that OH, MS, IN, FL, and ME could flip red, history and Trump’s stupidity would suggest otherwise.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    No one said anything about the Senate or the Electoral College being unconstitional. You were the one crowing about how governors and state legislatures weren’t one person one vote. If you had been paying attention to the multiple Supreme Court decisions they specifically cite the Senate and the Electoral College as exceptions.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Just because something is legal does not mean something is right.

    And to get back to the toll thing… You, Nachtigall, always sing the high song of the markets. And if someone comes along wanting to charge market rates for roads and market rates for parking, you cry foul.

    Which is it?

    Socialism for roads, capitalism for trains?

    Hypocrite much?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    1. I didn’t say govenors and state house was not 1person 1 vote, I said the opposite. The GOP is winning straight up, up and down the ticket.

    2. I am against tolls because they are regressive and I believe transportation is a public good. They should be subsidized out of general funds. That is roads, trains, and airports. I do believe in markets and there is no doubt tolls would decrease driving. I simply don’t think you should decrease driving. It’s the best all around mode of transit. Works great and supports the most powerful economy in the world. No reason to change.

    And before you say it, the reason I am against subsidizing HSR is simply because the law that was passed prevents them and I also believe in following the law. They should have never put that in the law. It’s impossible to believe that a partially built system will start in the black. Even the best HSR systems take 5 years to reach stable ridership. They are doomed from the start even if you think they will,eventually break even. No way day 1 IOS north makes money

    3. Keep,pumping those,polls, I am sure they will serve you well 2 years out. There are simply more D seats available in 2 years, a lot more. The GOP will have to deal with midterm losses due to owning presidency, but everything else lines up as advantage to them. They only have to defend 8 seats vs 25

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They have to defend Donald Trump and the radical agenda of Paul Ryan.
    It’s gonna go over really well when the Democrats run the ads detailing how the sweet gentle Republican incumbent voted to repeal Medicare. Or gave tax breaks to rich people making the deficit go up. Or wouldn’t fund the wall that was promised. Or voted to repeal Medicare. And wants to privatize Social Security. And voted to repeal Medicare.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Remember that the fucking Nazi party won the election of 1933 (Nachtigall shut up about 45% of the popular vote is not winning, they had a parliamentary majority together with the DNVP after the election).

    Why? Because they got to put their goons into the streets as “police” and they controlled the levers of power. True, they could not control whom people voted for, but they could beat up and lock up pretty much anybody who dared to publicly disagree with them and they owned the government bully pulpit. Plus newspapers then as now sucked up to those in power whom they had mocked just weeks earlier.

    The repugnant party has perfected the art of purging the voter roles of “those people” for years now and there is no reason not to think the Trumpistas will stop at that. Breaking the Trumpista stranglehold on power will be hard.

    And while I agree that it is not unlikely that HSR might lose some money in the first year, there are currently “private” operators that are obviously willing and able to shoulder the acquisition of rolling stock plus a couple of years of losses. NTV comes to mind. (The guys running the Italo train). Of course initial losses in European transportation are mostly due to the fierce competition and not due to some weird idea that half built lines should be used, before there is even so much as a one seat ride into LA (when did the “a half built line has to operate without a subsidy” become part of the line? I thought the plan was to use the half built line for better Amtrak service and Amtrak does receive a subsidy).

    To give just a few examples of fierce competition in transportation in Europe, NTV is or was until recently still in the read, Leo Express is complaining about being undercut in prices by Czech Railways, Flixbus did not earn a single Euro in profits (despite owning next to no buses stations or roads) for most of the phase when they turned from a small startup into the company running 90% of intercity buses in Germany and most in Europe. Almost all legacy airlines have “low cost” subsidiaries hemorrhaging money and most airports are money pits as well.

    CaHSR will likely be in a position to charge much higher fares than any new entrant into the European transportation picture ever could. The SFO – LAX transportation market currently has more demand than highways and airports can accommodate and that is not even counting induce demand. To say nothing of all the intermediary markets. Americans are used to prices like 100 $ one way along this route, so CaHSR will be able to get away with “super low” offers as high as 59$ for the cheapest seats and days. If Deutsche Bahn did something like that, there’d be riots in the streets. In fact, Deutsche Bahn recently re-introduced tickets starting from 19€ for a cross-country ride in the face of Flixbus and others…

    StevieB Reply:

    @John Nachtigall
    Once again you show that you have not read the SAFE, RELIABLE HIGH-SPEED PASSENGER TRAIN BOND ACT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY. Nowhere in SEC. 9. Chapter 20 of Division 3 of the Streets and Highways Code does it say the California High-Speed Rail Initial Operating Segment must make a profit on the first day. Why don’t you go read the law.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    So when does it have to make a profit in your interpretation of the law?

    In my opinion all it takes is an operator that has a solid capital base. If they cannot absorb the cost of rolling stock acquisition and a year or so of initial losses, they might find themselves in a ruinous competition with Southwest airlines trying to undercut HSR in terms of price. Southwest would be losing money doing this, but Southwest can afford to lose a lot of money for a short period of time if they hope to get something out of it…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The law specifically states that the operating segments they build shall receive no subsidy. Many parts of the law, in fact, are about how to ensure that each segment built is self sustaining. Which is easy to write but impossible to actually pull off. Trains in Taiwan and even France show a 5 year ramp in ridership. My source…this blog

    http://cahsr.blogspot.com/2009/09/taiwan-hsr-harbinger-of-doom-or-flawed.html

    Give it a read. It’s like a time capsule of optomism that looks quite quaint now. 20% private money….lol

    But on a more serious note this Nazi comparison thing has to stop. Trumps supporters and the GOP did not send people to the polls, they did not put rioters in the streets, they did not send death threats to the electors. And almost every news outlet in the US was and is against him.

    In fact, it’s the Dems that are rioting and sending death threats. So before you move into that cozy little cottage are your high point of moral superiority, explain to me how you support threatening the electors with death if they perform their civic duty like every elector before them has?

    StevieB Reply:

    The law does not specifically state that operating segments run at a profit on the first day of operations. The law requires a plan be approved for operations without subsidy before bonds are sold and the Authority has devised such a plan.

    agb5 Reply:

    The Authority will choose an operator what has sufficiently large balance sheet to operate the service at a loss for 4 years in return for a 20 year concession with 16 years of profits.
    It can be reasonable argued that such a operator will not require a “local, state, or
    federal operating subsidy”

    agb5 Reply:

    A company like Vinci can operate the rail service at a loss for many years with no government subsidy. this is what they do.
    https://www.vinci.com/vinci.nsf/en/group.htm

    joe Reply:

    Step 1. Troll some nonsense Prop1a interpretation
    Step 2. Watch CAHSR not adhere to the trolling interpretation
    Step3. Hypocrisy!!! You guys break the law !!

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I have yet to hear of a company entering the transportation sector with a major big ticket investment and a “Yeah, we’ll be in the black our first year” business model. You have to have some plan for a year or more of red figures. Perhaps even several years. Otherwise you should not be in a business where a train or a plane costs millions. You might be able to run recycled Bluebird buses, though…

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Ever heard of leasing?

    Joe Reply:

    Don’t forget moonbeam became Brown’s nickname after he suggested CA could have its own space program.

    Edward Reply:

    Not exactly…

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/07/weekinreview/07mckinley.html

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Things Jerry Brown will spend money on:

    Satellites.

    Things Jerry Brown will not spend money on:

    Single-payer health care.
    Free college tuition.
    Social housing.

    Got to keep your priorities straight.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you Alon Levy. Welcome back.
    The same could be said about the US Government.
    The 10 most populous states have more people than the total population of the remaining 40.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Half the population lives in these counties.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/half-of-the-united-states-lives-in-these-counties-2013-9

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Los Angeles county has more people than the 10 least populated states combined.

    Furthermore, those aforementioned counties are where most growth is concentrated. The future is urban.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Yet LA County gets zero electoral votes (and even less proportion of the campaigning) whereas those 10 empty states are courted -if and only if – they happen to be swing states…

    Jerry Reply:

    Great map. Thanks.
    Now, stop and think. Look at those 146 out of more than 3,000 counties nationwide.
    Most of those 146, which have over 50% of the nation’s population, should be connected by HSR.
    But it is really the more than 2,800 other counties that are stopping it from happening.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Its worth noting that when you add in about 146 more suburban counties that are counted as part of the 2800 other counties you get closer to 66% of the population). (because two thirds of Americans live in just 100 metro areas.)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And the electoral system designed by and for slaveowners.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Technically slaveowners also designed the bill of rights.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    And they worded it in the extremely useless “Congress shall make no law” way. For most of the time, the Bill of Rights did not bind states. In fact, the Fourteenth Amendment and “federal judicial overreach” is to thank for the fact that Maryland cannot just decide to make one faith the established church…

    Edward Reply:

    It’s interesting that you chose Maryland. The following is from an American Bar Association article:

    “The Maryland colony was granted to Cecilius Calvert, a Roman Catholic, who had to support the Church of England. Because Calvert believed that religious restrictions would interfere with Maryland’s growth and development, he drafted a religious toleration law that the colonial assembly approved in 1649. Called the Maryland Toleration Act of 1649, this was the first law of its type in the British Empire, and it granted religious freedom to all people. Afterward, a group of Puritans fled from Virginia to Maryland, which became famous for its religious freedom. However, the act was soon repealed, and Protestant settlers overthrew Calvert’s government in 1654. Control of Maryland seesawed between Protestant-led and Catholic-led governments into the next century. In 1692, the Anglican Church became the established church of Maryland. In 1718, Roman Catholics in Maryland lost their right to vote, which they did not regain until 1776.”

    joe Reply:

    These are Alon’s personal needs.

    An earth monitoring system is inherently a government function. It produces data for environmental monitoring and improved short and long term forecasting which are worth multiple billions of dollars in economic productivity in a water limited state.

    Alon’s given a list of post-doc’s needs: Heavily subsidized urban housing, free medical care and continued free access to a university system

    The satellite systems costs the same as an single urban highway interchange. It’s an order of magnitude or two less costly Mr. Math.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Do you ever listen to yourself? Single-payer health care is about me?

    Joe Reply:

    Did you fail math ? A satellite is not a billion dollars. Your items are far more – tens of billions.

    You gave a political list of wants aligned to your needs. Gov Brown was talking to a literally world wide community of scientist about stepping up with a system that would cost one or two orders of magnitude below your list of alternatives

    You just made a false equivalence. Congradualtions.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Single Payer would actually be cheaper – even for the government – than the current system – if it were implemented nationwide.

    The US is currently paying as much per person on health care in public funding as others are that have universal health care. And then there is the private spending which in the US dwarves everything. One of the problems with health care in the US is that patients are forced to “negotiate” prices and services from a weak bargaining position. When you are eight months pregnant, you have better things to do than compare hospital prices – and that information isn’t even publicly available. If your hip just want twang, you have better things to do than ask where the cheapest replacement can be had.

    But the NHS can hire a bunch of qualified people to drive down the price of hip replacements and kick hospitals that charge too much for an uncomplicated birth in the shin.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2014-04-30/single-payer-would-make-health-care-worse

    Edward Reply:

    More (and more recent) Bloomberg:

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-30/health-care-check-up-whose-system-is-least-efficient-

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Did you read the article? It starts with the fact that the us system pays the most. That is not in dispute.

    It simply explains why single payer won’t work in the US. Read it, even if you disagree you will be better able to argue your point by understanding the other side

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It doesn’t say anything about single payer.

    Joe Reply:

    Right it doesn’t. It also says Swiss and Norwegians pay more per GDP. We are the most inefficient.

    Hopefully the GOP will repeal single payer Medicare and John will find a more efficient policy on the free market as retired senior.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Read the article he was responding to. My comments were based on the article I posted.

    There are real reasons the US can’t go single payer

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2014-04-30/single-payer-would-make-health-care-worse

    joe Reply:

    I think you mean “Read it from the perspective of an anti-liberal troll”

    By Columnist Megan McArdle

    2014 Opinion Column becomes evidence.
    Since I’m not an anti-liberal troll, I don’t see it your way.

    I still laugh at all the doom and gloom forecast the ACA would wreck — which never appeared.
    I laugh at conservative columnists tell me Brown’s bankrupting the state of California with it’s 2B plus surplus.
    I laugh at conservatives too chicken to live in state’s like Kansas or Texas that implement their desired policies because they refuse to can’t find work.

    You’ll ride HSR and with the wifi write about the next liberal doom and gloom.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    We all can agree that drug prices and prices of many procedures are too high in the US.

    Now there are two major ways to fix that, both require government intervention.

    1) Break up monopolies and give patients more information. For instance every patient should know in advance what any given planned procedure at any given hospital costs so that they can decide where to have it done (This is currently not the case). And if a drug is only sold by one company, there should be some control on the price. I am not saying Uncle Sam should set the price, but there should be something keeping them from jacking it up by 300% overnight.

    2) Go to single payer. The United States National Health Service (working title) buys most stuff in bulk and negotiates rates. If I make hip replacements and I have to have that 200 000 pieces contract with the US NHS I cannot jack up the price into the stratosphere. If I sell to one single senior who needs this hip replacement lest he cannot walk and does not know the prices, I can dictate the price.

    So yes, in essence both approaches would make use of capitalism at least in part. But without government intervention capitalism cannot work.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    With populism on the rise today, if the GOP start taking healthcare away from tens of millions of citizens, they shouldn’t be surprised if one single payer is the result

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    If Obamacare was gone tomorrow 85% of America would be unaffected. And single payer got a whopping 20% in Colorado.

    Read the article, there are real and unique challenges to single payer in the US. The biggest being that those 85% will pay more and get worse insurance

    Joe Reply:

    Of course that’s not right.

    Even the most ardent GOP Neanderthals know it’s not true which is why they are not proposing an immediate repeal.

    The insurance market place would be affected – they say so too- articles are written about this topic.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Even the most liberal social justice warrior knows that 85% of coverage is supplied by employers and that has not been affected by Obamacare (thankfully).

    A single payer system is just a way to make those 85% pay for the other 15% while reducing their quality of insurance. Hence the reason young invincible won’t buy coverage and ACA enrollment is HALF predicted.

    joe Reply:

    Even the most liberal social justice warrior knows that…

    WTF is wrong with you?

    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/gop-obamacare-repeal-path-worries-health-care-industry

    WASHINGTON (AP) — One by one, key health care industry groups are telling the incoming Republican administration and Congress that it’s not a good idea to repeal the 2010 health care law without clear plans to address the consequences.

    Hospitals, insurers and actuaries — bean-counters who make long-range economic estimates — have weighed in, and more interest groups are expected to make their views known soon. Representing patients, the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network reminded lawmakers that lives are at stake.

    The concerns go beyond the obvious potential hardship for the 20 million people covered by subsidized private insurance and expanded Medicaid under President Barack Obama’s signature law.

    Hospitals say a stand-alone repeal would cost them billions, compromising their ability to serve local communities. Insurers say Congress must be careful not to create even more uncertainty and instability. Actuaries worry the mere promise of an eventual replacement won’t be enough to sustain the individual health insurance market.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    America pays the third most in the world for decidedly mediocre outcomes in life expectancy, infant mortality and other health measures. Uninsured were and are treated in emergency rooms at very high costs that the system bears. Until Obama care reduced the very high rate of health care cost inflation, it was eating up much of the budget for worker raises, and on a trajectory of being reduced and illuminated as an employee benefit. The most efficient part of the US healthcare system is single payer Medicare with it’s roughly 2% overhead.

    John – are you advocating that your Medicare be turned off?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They promised immediate repeal. Make them eat it.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Ouch…I am not old enough to be on Medicare. I will be 45 this month.

    I am not advocating anything, I am saying that single payer past what we have (Medicare and Medicaid) is not possible because it it too expensive and because of that expense not politically feasible. Simply put people are not going to vote for a system where they pay more and get less regardless of the system savings. Take me as an example. I pay $1800 a year for a top of the line PPO plan (I can go to any doctor) with low deductible and a maximum yearly $5000. It is offered to any employee who wants it. Under a single payer plan my taxes would go up 10-15% depending on who you believe. That would be 25-30k. So I would pay more than 10 times what I currently pay for mediocre Medicare insurance. No thanks. If you want to tax me to pay for health care for the poor…maybe, but no way I am paying an order of magnitude more and end up with worse insurance.

    Medicare is efficient. I’m still not screwing myself, it’s that simple for me and the vast majority. That’s why it does not happen, most people would be worse off

    And obviously, we had a health care system before the ACA so to imply that it’s impossible to go back is just smoke. No where in Joe’s article does it say anything about the 85% who get insurance through their business

    Jerry Reply:

    Ban tobacco sales all together.
    Stop subsidies for sugar industries.
    Deal with problems as to why sickies are sick.
    Require people who smoke to pay more for their health insurance.

    Jerry Reply:

    Doctors in Florida are banned from asking patients if they own a gun. Even to the point of asking about the storage of the weapon and understanding of the safety requirements of the weapon. Yet gun related injuries and deaths are a problem for emergency rooms in urban areas. It’s not just about insurance.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Walkability also makes for less obesity (in large numbers, I know there are individual skinny people who never walk anywhere).

    Nachtigall, have you done the calculations on whether you’d end up better if your taxes were reduced by the amount that goes to Highways but everybody would have to pay for their use out of pocket?

    Rich people are only rich because they inherited it (which is by definition nothing anybody has earned) or because society created the circumstances under which they could prosper. It is only fair and just to ask them to chip in so society can educate and keep healthy the next future rich person.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Medicaid and Medicare are expensive because reallllly reallllly sick people are eligible for them.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well that’s another problem, if you compartmentalize the healthy people into a different system, the sick people will get the short end of the stick.

    Health is the number one reason for bankruptcy in the US. This is not the case in most other places…

    Joe Reply:

    System with 2% operational overhead is not too expensive.
    It’s only expensive if you want to deny medical services to undeserving people.

    45 year old John is relatively young and in peak earning years.
    It’s fairly affordable to buy insurance – unless you get a chronic illness.
    55 year old John will be very upset at his 45 year old younger self.

    Jerry Reply:

    Freud studied 6 sick people.
    Abraham Maslow studied well people.
    And psychiatry is stuck on sick people.
    Study and emphasize wellness.
    Otherwise comfort dogs for everyone and the insurance pays.

    Jerry Reply:

    Some people say no federal aid to organizations for women’s health. Even if it prevents unwanted pregnancies.

    Jerry Reply:

    When it comes to health in this country it is dingbat crazy.

    Jerry Reply:

    Check out the NFL and how they fought the medical field regarding concussions.

    Jerry Reply:

    Or check out the Terri Schiavo case in Florida.
    Treatment forever.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well compared to soccer the NFL is downright enlightened about concussions…

    Exhibit A: back in the 2014 Fifa finals that one German was visibly disoriented due to a concussion (something which can lead to death) and he stayed in the game for another quarter hour. The commentator on German TV even praised him for staying on the field…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I worked to earn my career. I was helped along the way by many, but no one took the tests for me and no one handed me anything. I, like everyone else, already pay taxes to have a civil society. The moral question at hand is this: Is it fair or right to reduce the quality of insurance and raise the price for 60+ percent of society to help the bottom 15%. The practice question is how you get that passed in a democracy.

    I freely admit that single payer is a great public policy. But as explained in the article I linked to, now that healthcare is expensive in the US, you can’t go back. And you can’t pass a policy that financially and materially (with worse insurance ) harms a healthy majority. It’s just that simple. There is no way to implement single payer in the US without screwing people over.

    The saner policy is to expand Medicaid eligibility. But because they linked it to the ACA it became a political mess. If they had just done that they would have gotten 80% of the benefit and no political backlash. Just look at the enrollment right now, it’s half predicted because all the poor sick people signed up and no healthy rich people want to subsidize them. You think codifying that in single payer makes it different?

    The real solution will be a shift to value based health care. Instead of treating sick people, pay the system for outcomes. So if you keep a heart failure patents out of the hospital for 30 days you get money. Right now, regardless of result you get paid for giving them a device, which is great for me but bad for society.

    http://www.medtronic.com/us-en/transforming-healthcare.html

    http://www.medtronic.com/content/dam/medtronic-com/harvard-business-review/downloads/the-key-to-value-based-healthcare-hbr.pdf

    PS. You could triple the gas tax or institute monthly tolls and you would not hurt me, the poor would be devistated however. So yes, I have done the math. Travel is 1% of my monthly budget (based on take home) say $100. Making it 5%, say $500, would be inconvenient, but nothing more. On the other hand, charging people $500 a month to drive would be a catastrophe for a lot of the working poor. Can you see how flat charges on driving are regressive. It’s better to charge progressive income taxes to fund transit.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Socialism for you and “get better or die” for poorer people.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    John – Appreciate the open minded discussion. I’m a 55yo healthy decent earner. I do have a minor, typical ‘pre-existing condition’ (elevated BP & cholesterol, easily managed for a few $/mth) that blocked me from the individual health insurance market, making it very tricky to be self employed or to found new startups. Obamacare fixed that, ending ‘job lock’. Maybe you have friends and relatives with ‘pre-existing conditions’.

    Public Health makes sense because germs spread and can infect all of us. Public Education makes sense because our companies need educated workers, and a desperate underclass breeds crime. In either case we in the richest country in the world can probably be creative enough to bring all of us along.

    That said, I support incremental progress toward reasonable shared goals. What if we allow older adults to buy into Medicare, age 55-64. That will offload some of the burden of the most expensive and unhealthy folks from the private insurance market. Would we agree on that as an incremental step?

    joe Reply:

    The moral question at hand is this: Is it fair or right to reduce the quality of insurance and raise the price for 60+ percent of society to help the bottom 15%.

    Laughing at John.

    California has single payer health insurance. It’s called MediCal. As a foster home the children we care for have single payer medical. We sign a single sheet to see a Dr. and off they go into the system and in one case it was a long hospitalization and emergency surgery. Then 4 more hospitalizations. four single sheet and an ID and it’s all taken care of.

    The surgeon that operated on that boy was the top children’s surgeon in the area. The best.

    No bills or hassle and it was top care in San Jose.

    You’re a nut-case to think you’re paying for better or that single payer will take for you. You already have a system with single payer.

    Our private Stanford U policy is more complicated and care no better.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I have a pre existing condition myself. I had 2x pulimary embolisms (pre-ACA) that almost killed me. And throw in sleep apnea. I will never be able to get insurance outside of working so while I am not locked into this job, I will have to work until Medicare no matter what (unless the ACA actually survives). I have job lock times 3.

    I had actually been laid off a month before I had the embolisms, so COBRA, a government law, saved me. This specific policy (I have had it at several companies) paid 100k+ in my bills. I didn’t even fill out a single sheet, just shows them the card.

    So I am not unsympathetic or blind to the realities of the improvements due to the ACA or even single payer. The timing of my illness could have bankrupted me, but I had emergencies funds and I had planned on paying COBRA,at it’s outrageous rates, before I got sick. But you can’t expect me to pay 10-20 times more in cost and get WORSE insurance, that is just unrealistic. I am not against public health, I am against getting screwed

    I am happy to support programs to subsidize the poor or near poor. As long as they don’t force me into mediocre insurance it’s fine with me.

    And I am glad to hear your foster child was able to get great care, but Medi-cal covers the poor only and reimburses at a rate that makes most doctors not take it. The vast majority of people are covered by private plans, just like your Stanford plan.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The ACA is going nowhere. The filibuster exists.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    About US Healthcare, our system is not “85% employee based”. In round numbers it is:
    ~51% Employer Provided
    ~25% Medicare
    ~12% Medicaid, including Ocare expansion
    ~ 7% Ocare Exchanges + Individual market
    ~10% Uninsured (down from ~20%)

    Employer provided is shrinking due to the poor cost containment of the private insurer model (think hourly/service jobs). As it slips below 50% it will no longer be correct to say we have a primarily employer-based model.

    About roads, I look forward to reducing the socialism and paying for my usage of them – with the proceeds supporting alternatives both for me and to keep other SOVs off congested roads. Like healthcare without copays, free roads are an unsustainable.

    joe Reply:

    And I am glad to hear your foster child was able to get great care, but Medi-cal covers the poor only and reimburses at a rate that makes most doctors not take it. The vast majority of people are covered by private plans, just like your Stanford plan.

    This is not correct. I specifically told you the best surgeon in the area operated and it was at a modern facility in San Jose.

    Stanford U offered care is $ also restricted to in Plan providers. The quality is no more or less but we navigate a system that spends 25% on overhead to maximize profit. Medicare is 2% over head.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Imagine how many more startups could exist if people were not tied to their corporate jobs by the current healthcare system…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Then why does Silicon Valley exist in CA rather than Canada or Britain where they have universal healthcare?

    Job lock is a real thing and I agree it is a disadvantage, but it has not stopped innovation or entrepreneurship

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Because the US spent gazillions in government money to basically invent modern IT. Yes, Konrad Zuse was German and Alan Turing was a Brit, but the US military was for a long time the biggest customer of computers in the world and you know what the Internet was called during beta? ARPAnet.

    And I don’t think it’s pure chance that the whole Internet shebang does not happen in red states like Alabama…

    Edward Reply:

    Another reason is that Stanford University encouraged their professors to work on the side instead of forbidding it as many universities do. Hewlett and Packard were financed by a professor who saw the brilliance in their design of a low distortion audio oscillator that could tune over three octaves in one turn of the dial. The Varian brothers are another example. And then there was the Homebrew Computer Club and all the interconnections that caused.

    As an aside: I really should have asked Wosniak and Jobs if they could use some money when they set up that card table at Homebrew and started selling their computer card – and it was just that, a blank card, and twenty sheets of instructions. Twenty-Twenty hindsight :-)

    joe Reply:

    Many reasons
    Navy research and Moffett Field drew radio and aeronautics research.
    Also luck because of an because of an aging parent.

    Shockley -> (The traitorous eight) Fairchild -> intel National and etc.

    Here Shockley struck up a friendship with Arnold Orville Beckman, who had invented the pH meter in 1934. By this time Shockley had become convinced that the natural capabilities of silicon meant it would eventually replace germanium as the primary material for transistor construction. Texas Instruments had recently started production of silicon transistors (in 1954), and Shockley thought he could do one better. Beckman agreed to back Shockley’s efforts in this area, under the umbrella of his company, Beckman Instruments. However, Shockley’s mother was aging and often ill, and he decided to live closer to her house in Palo Alto.[1][2]

    The Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory opened for business in a small commercial lot in nearby Mountain View in 1956. Initially he tried to hire some of his former workers from Bell Labs, but none of them wanted to leave the east coast, then the center of most high-tech research. Instead, he assembled a team of young scientists and engineers and set about designing a new type of crystal-growth system that could produce single-crystal silicon boules, at that time a difficult prospect given silicon’s high melting point.

    Jerry Reply:

    Serendipity.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I agree with luck. The valley grew here by chance and then because a self reinforcing thing.

    But you ignore the question. If job lock prevents innovation/entrpenurship the why doesn’t a place like Norway, where they don’t have to worry about not just healthcare but basic living expenses, lead the world in innovation? Answer, because there needs to be an element of desperation to drive innovation. Without risk, it is hard to be creative.

    And BTW, CA was a red state back then, and Alabama was blue. Political landscapes are not stagnant. The Dems used to own the whole south with a combination of unions and minorities. Now they don’t ebpven own a single statehouse. A sad collapse.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It took 22 seconds to check to see how many states have a Democratic governor and Democratic control of both houses of the state legislature. It’s more than none.

    joe Reply:

    Shorter John: “Norwegians are not creative.” FFS

    It’s not just luck. CA has a culture without old money or social stratification. We have DOD investments creating forms. We are tolerant and more merit driven here.

    Young people can assume risk and they also have less health issues as a population. I’ve had freriends who were bought on by MS, merged and had flops but most stopped in their 30’s. Those who persist are childless. 60+ hour weeks are hard to sustain.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    It took less than 22 seconds…and the answer is 0. I said the democrats have lost control of the state houses in the SOUTH.

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

    Kentucky was the last and while the map shows split you will see it actually republican. Sad though they only outright own 13 in the entire US. Dems used to dominate at the state and local level not so long ago.

    joe Reply:

    Conservatives used to run the GOP. Now they don’t. Sad.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Joe

    You’re right. Anyone who believes in pro business, open, pro-trade policies *cough cough John Nachtigall* ought to join the Democrats.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Dixiecrats owned the south, they were allowed to call themselves Democrats. The Republicans thought they could manipulate them and keep them under control. They didn’t keep them under control, they took over the party.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    @adirondaker

    Is that your way of saying I was right and you were wrong?

    @car and joe

    I might consider joining the Democrats except I hate losing. So I just live in the last bastion of pure Democratic Party power so I have dibs when it falls. :-) I all seriousness, there is a lot I don’t like about either party, but the democrats have made it quite clear they have no use for rich, white, males who believe in free trade and individual accountability. I am GOP by default.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The Republicans ran on a platform of 35% tariffs and when ever they do something wrong it’s all Clinton’s fault.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @ John N.

    You’re wrong on two counts. First rich, white, males who believe in free trade and individual accountability make up the base of the Democrat’s New Democrat faction. While there are plenty of not rich, not white not males in that faction–it isn’t overwhelmingly dominated by any one group. However, educated white males (if you actually care how you fit in with a group demographically) aren’t overwhelmingly skewed republican. Remember, we nominated the Clintons, not Bernie Sanders.
    In short, Democrats generally support free trade, free markets, and individual accounntablitiy, but also support spending on infrastructure and education and healthcare, support preventing climate change, and aren’t overly hawkish. We have more in common with the Kasich/Bush wings of the GOP than they have in common with the current president-elect. Even Bobby Jindal recognized that the GOP is becoming the stupid party. You’re smart. You can do better than that.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Secondly, the Democrats aren’t really in decline. Like usual, we lost badly in the midterms. There isn’t reason to think the GOP won’t do worse in 2018, with the unpopularity of Trump. What the GOP has traditionally had is a very good political machine that has worked to get them into power at the state level and isn’t afraid to gerrymander. Fortunately, Democrats are realizing they need to do the same, which shouldn’t be difficult, seeing as Democrats have more wealthy donors than the GOP. Furthermore, the democrats control California, which is worth 30 tiny GOP controlled states.

    Eric M Reply:

    When Obama took office in 2009, Democrats had a 58-seat majority in the Senate, had 256 seats in the House and held 28 governorship’s. They lost the House and ceded the majority of governorship’s in 2010, held serve in 2012 with Mr. Obama’s re-election, then lost control of the Senate in 2014 and control of the White House this year. Democrats have shed 63 House seats, 10 Senate seats and 12 governorship’s.

    Eric M Reply:

    If you don’t think the Democrats are in decline with those numbers, you are delusional

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Its cyclical. Republicans were in decline from 2002-2010, and the same is likely to happen from 2018-?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why are you not hearing about innovative Norwegians?

    First, because US media sucks in reporting on the outside world
    Second, because there are not that many Norwegians. There are more people in a twenty mile radius around the HSR line to be built through California than there are in Norway.
    Third because Norway never bought a gazillion trillion bajillion computers for use in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and the like. Germany used to be leading in almost all fields of science (just look at the first three decades of Nobel Prices) before the Nazis either murdered or drove out about half the people with a brain and then went all “Jewish Physics versus German Physics” on science. I hope the Trumpistas don’t do the same thing in the US. It appears something like that is currently underway on climate science…

    Also, the Democrats might be losing seats and governors mansions, but this is not necessarily due to the Democrats losing votes. The problem is, the US is becoming a more and more urban country and the Democrats are becoming a more and more urban party, but the political system is designed to ensure maximum representation for potato Joe and his farm. And frankly, sooner or later potato Joe and his farm will be swept away…

  7. Aarond
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 20:51
    #7

    An Uber “self driving” vehicle ran a red light and the CA DMV is ordering them to stop testing their technology on public roads until they obtain a permit:

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/uber-self-driving-vehicle-appears-launch-red-light-first-day-sf/

    http://jalopnik.com/california-shuts-down-ubers-self-driving-program-on-its-1790121335

    Posted here as it debunks much of the “why do we need trains when we will have self driving cars” argument.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Uh, trains sometimes run red signals too, often times with very sad results.

    Aarond Reply:

    Not if PTC is installed. Don’t take it from me, take it from our friends at the Association of American Railroads!

    https://www.aar.org/policy/positive-train-control

    synonymouse Reply:

    Nothing can possibly go wrong; everything is perfectly under control. Move along.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Trains can’t even exceed the speed limit when modern train control systems are operating

    Roland Reply:

    PTC won’t be able to stop the Peninsula holocaust as long as lights are green when the gates are up.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    We need trains. Self driving cars would also be nice–to replace the fraction of existing cars that can’t reasonably be replaced by trains.

    wave9x Reply:

    BART can’t even get self-driving TRAINS running.

    Eric Reply:

    article keeps calling that location an intersection (from the video) but it isn’t, it is a mid-block pedestrian signal. still illegal to run the red though.

    Danny Reply:

    as more and more HSR and LRT rail/subway is laid, the less and less I expect we’ll be hearing about pilotless vehicles; it’s the same how nobody’s flogging PRT any more after Minneapolis quietly opened the Blue Line in 2004
    back in 99/00 I remember a big spike in talk about automatic cars–when cities were starting or finishing off subway projects (LA’s Red+Purple)
    Prop 1A saw Cato insisting that within a decade automatic cars will be going 180 in echelons between cities (in 2011? I can’t remember exactly)
    the scam MuskPod “enterprises” will all start folding and vactrains will die a quiet death once ol’ Lyndon LaRouche kicks the bucket
    it’s like fusion power: the technology of 20 years into the future, every 20 years

  8. Jerry
    Dec 14th, 2016 at 23:34
    #8

    Some excellent aerial shots of the Fresno River Viaduct can be seen at:
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154792420374859.1073741951.273053429858&type=1&l=93b8c2ea9f

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Very nice.

    Jerry Reply:

    Slowly but surely it shows progress.
    I’ll be happy when more of it shows up on Google Maps aerial view.

    Aarond Reply:

    It’s going to be even better in a year as catenary goes up along the Peninsula. People will be able to see progress happening right in their own towns (and occasionally behind their own backyards).

    Looking towards the longer term (2018+) it will be very nice once the IOS is operative and the San Joaquin can be a straight shot from Sacramento to Bakersfield rather than the “Y” shape it presently is.

    Jerry Reply:

    Agreed.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    When all is said and done, California may end up having the busiest rail line in the nation (currently that’s the NEC)

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Yes. Though the NEC has a larger potential market, CAHSR’s speed makes it likely to capture a larger market share.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    It is also less likely to be equipped with a lack of trains (the NEC currently) and thus forced (more or less) to set prices at a level double that of even Japanese HSR.

    Domayv Reply:

    what does this lack of trains have to do with the NEC

    JJJ Reply:

    Because Fresno has so few clouds, the area gets updated imagery every year

    Jerry Reply:

    Is that Google and/or Bing?

    JJJ Reply:

    Google. The current imagery is from 3/2015 so we are overdue. Usually we get imagery taken in March or April and it is uploaded in October or November.

    I am not sure about Bing

    Danny Reply:

    NIMFYs: “trains can’t go on elevated bridges! it’s physically impossible! like tunnels or at-grade!”

  9. Alan
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 06:50
    #9

    Gee, this post has been up for a full day and we haven’t yet heard Morris’ whining about how the bond sale is so illegal, unconstitutional, immoral, or just plain yucky…

    Joe Reply:

    Morris made a comment in the previous post’s thread.

    Recall Mullin’s Bill took time to reach the floor for vote and was revised. This quote below reassures the Legislature was ready for a lawsuit and sought advice.

    The legislation by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, and signed by high-speed rail proponent Gov. Jerry Brown, allows rail money to be spent on electrification of a 55-mile corridor of track from south of San Jose to San Francisco. Mullin’s policy director, Andrew Zingale, said Tuesday that the legislation was vetted by the Legislature’s attorneys and thus was constitutional.

    Alan Reply:

    I recall that, of course. But nothing has ever stopped Morris from whining loudly and often about his misunderstanding of law and the Constitution.

    And nothing changes the fact that AB1889 not only fails to change one word of Prop 1A, but reiterates that the Authority must fully comply with the provisions of Prop 1A. All that Flashman is going to accomplish is wasting even more taxpayer money.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    honestly if it changes nothing then why pass it?

    Joe Reply:

    Why?

    It clearly shows the Leglislature’s position and clarifies ambiguities. This strengthens the Authority’s position. The Executive and Leglislature branches explicitly want this funding.

    Goofy Kenney once wanted the Leglislature to rescind the funding bill and clearly state their view in the record that HSR was in the public interest.

    Let’s see him try to overreach or interpret intent again.

    Jerry Reply:

    It does help “clarify ambiguities”.
    Especially when a lot of courts are stuck on what the intent was/is of the legislative body.

    Joe Reply:

    A judge must override the explicit decisions of two other branches of government acting within their capacity as defined in prop1a and with a preponderance of case Law that they have wide latitude to implement a complex project described in a bond act.

    Jerry Reply:

    Joe. Wish you could file a brief as a friend of the court.
    Sometimes it helps even judges who overlook things.
    As even sometimes both parties in a case are myopic and miss various points.

    Jerry Reply:

    (They’re too close to the forest to see the trees.)

    Alan Reply:

    Kenny also tried to invent new requirements that the Authority would have to meet in order to issue the bonds. The Court of Appeal slapped him down hard on that one.

    I think the judge is going to be very hesitant to cross the Court of Appeal yet again. That, obviously, works in our favor.

    Joe Reply:

    Kenny saw a complaint with no meaningful remedy. The laurel and hardy team failed to challenge the constitutionality of the appropriation.

    He then innovated.

    Now we see there is no way they can stop bond sales with this lawsuit unless the judge issues an injunction.

    I thought there was a mouse trap waiting for HSR.

    Alan Reply:

    I think the spring broke on the trap, and someone made off with the cheese…

    zorro Reply:

    Why?

    It’s also another check for Flashman’s pocket book, so win or more likely lose, He still gets paid.

    morris brown Reply:

    @joe:

    Zingale needs to publicly post the “legislature’s Attorney’s opinion… I have seen nothing but talk
    Who were the attorneys? Why wasn’t a full opinion obtained from the Leg Counsel?

    Joe Reply:

    You’ll find all this out in court !

    Clearly we are all entitled to accuse public officials of acting grossly negligent or fraudulently.

    The onus is on the accuser so let’s see this is argued in court.

    Government inherently represents the public interest and doesn’t have to provide cheat codes for disgruntled plaintiffs.

    synonymouse Reply:

    “Government inherently represents the public interest..”

    If you get “interred” or worse don’t complain.

  10. Jeff
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 09:46
    #10

    Did I read this wrong?
    $2.6 Billion for a 119-mile leg connecting Fresno to Madera?
    Did you mean 19 miles? Madera is a very short distance from Fresno, and $2.6 billion is a massive amount to spend for such a short, straight, flat stretch of track!
    We know that Uzbekistan was able to build a fully functional high speed rail line between Tashkent and Samarkand for less than a billion dollars, and it’s 214 miles long! Why would it cost 10 times as much to build in the Central Valley, a landscape similar to the plains of central Uzbekistan?

  11. morris brown
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 11:40
    #11

    Alan writes:

    AB1889 not only fails to change one word of Prop 1A

    which again shows his ignorance of the facts.

    All on this blog should read the consultant’s report, where repeatedly they state their opinion on the funding plan is using AB-1889 has a defining factor. In other words, without AB-1889 they would not approve the funding plans.

    AB-1889 is um-constitutional and will be found as such by the courts.

    Joe Reply:

    AB1889 clarifies.

    It also puts the Leglislature, an active party in HSR to which reports are submitted and free being flows, on the record.

    Joe Reply:

    Funding flows from the Leglislature.

    agb5 Reply:

    The consultants expressed no opinion about compliance ex-AB1889, but they had no reason to.
    For the Valley segment they did point out the plan had been previously cleared by the 2012 Office of Legislative Counsel Letter.

    As you say, AB-1889 is um,, constitutional and will be found as such by the courts.

    Alan Reply:

    Sorry, Morris, but I’m not the one who’s ignorant here.

    You’re simply ignorant of what plain English words mean. To “change” Prop 1A would mean to explicitly strike words or phrases from that law and replace them (or not) with new language, or to add language to Prop 1A which did not previously exist. AB 1889 did nothing of the sort. AB 1889 added a section to the Streets and Highways Code. That’s how it works when legislative acts are codified into one of the Codes. Adding a new section to the Code in which Prop 1A is codified doesn’t change a word of what was already there. In this case, it adds guidance to whatever court(s) will be called upon to make a decision.

    The Assembly Floor Analysis on AB 1889 made no explicit statement about the constitutionality of the bill. However, I think that if anyone (other than Morris and TRANSDUMB) had such an opinion, it would have at least been mentioned in the analysis.

    The consultant’s opinion is just that–their opinion. Morris, in his desperation, grasps that opinion as if it were a life preserver.

    The fact is that the Legislature intended from Day One that a portion of the bond funds be used for purposes which work in harmony with the construction of the HSR system. The Caltrain electrification is one of those purposes. AB 1889 simply states explicitly that which rational people have long understood–projects of the magnitude of HSR simply do not spring from the earth fully constructed in one fell swoop. These things take time and are done in stages. The fact that the electrification would provide a benefit to Caltrain ahead of the beginning of HSR service changes nothing.

  12. Eric M
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 12:19
    #12

    Just a reminder to Morris Brown about past court cases, in which he kept arguing the plaintiffs will prevail:

    OCTOBER 15, 2014 – California high-speed rail wins big round in state high court

    MARCH 8, 2016 – In major win for high-speed rail, judge rejects claims by Kings County foes of bullet train

    Alan Reply:

    Among others… (see: the Atherton cases)

    Maybe Robert should do a quick post with links to all of the cases that HSR opponents have lost…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That might be illuminating because even lost court cases can be wins for HSR opponents insofar as they can add time delays and cost hikes…

    Alan Reply:

    Maybe so, but recall that one of the goals of the opponents was to delay construction so long that the ARRA grant would be lost. However, since the Authority spokesperson has said that they expect to spend all of the Federal $$$ before the deadline, the opponents have also lost that battle. All that they’ve managed to do is drive up the cost and delay the day when the system will be up and earning revenue.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well they will use the delays and cost hikes they caused as further ammunition for their attack ads and editorials…

    Danny Reply:

    right, and then they condemn the project and its agencies as padders of budgets and schedules
    this happened with Damien Goodmon and the Expo Line 2008-12–he could calmly and quietly babble complete nonsense for the cameras (“if they had spent the money on improvements instead of fighting me it would’ve gone quicker”), but his Cheviot-funded nuisance suits instead sharpened Metro’s legal team and now they know exactly how to handle NIMFYs and SLAPPs
    the barratry produced judges who could recognize all the tricks and histrionics and suspiciously large budgets of people claiming to be representing the poorest of the poor (who were almost all FOR rail)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the major difference of the US from Europe in this regard is that those lawsuit people are much more well organized, common and financially well equipped.

    In France for instance there are hardly any lawsuits about HSR lines and if they do occur, they are mostly about the exact amount of compensation for expropriated land, not whether the thing should be built at all.

  13. Jerry
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 14:02
    #13

    Politics is the art of compromise.
    Seems as though today that intractability rules.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Nobody’s right if everbody’s wrong.”
    Buffalo Springfield, 1966

  14. Roland
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 15:18
    #14

    Breaking News: Caltrain cancels FranKissenTrain, takes a second look at Twindexx EMU/DMU with one bathroom/car: http://www.mercurynews.com/2016/12/14/caltrain-begins-preliminary-electrification-work-in-atherton/

    zorro Reply:

    So what?

    Peter Reply:

    Breaking News: Newspaper posts article using obsolete rendering of possible train – Obsessed commenter (both on this blog and at public meetings) with no influence can’t let go. More at 11.

    Eric M Reply:

    So because of this photo which is used by the Morgan Hill Times on every CA high speed rail article, the CA HSRA will be using a 300 Series Shinkansen now?? Moron

    agb5 Reply:

    The train pictured apparently does not run on tracks, so you won’t need to make any more postings about mis-aligned and unsuitable tracks.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Double decker trains are stupid. Double decker trains are even stupider for urban corridors like Caltrain. They should only be considered after Caltrain is running every 10 minutes with full 12 car trains. Seriously. You have bad priorities when you’re investing in tons of capacity without maxed out frequency.

    Clem Reply:

    Caltrain already runs every 12 minutes during the peak, soon to be 10 minutes. Have you considered what it would cost to build 350 meter platforms in Menlo Park, Burlingame, Sunnyvale, etc.?

    Jerry Reply:

    New platforms?
    As a starter, what will the platform length be for the new CalTrain Station at 31st in San Mateo?

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Caltrain needs to improve its mid day service then. If it is running large trains hourly, it is doing something wrong. Caltrain is not commuter service. It is a thoroughly urban line, like BART or LA Metro, and needs to behave as such.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Also, double deck trains are rather inconvenient for short trips, like Palo Alto-Redwood City, which is the sort of spontaneous market Caltrain should focus on growing.

    Roland Reply:

    They are. It’s called ECR BRT.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Caltrain’s arbitrarily inequitable fixed fare zone boundaries and tariff severely discourage many short trips (such as Palo Alto-Redwood City) that happen to cross a fare zone boundary. So the short RWC-PA trip is insanely overpriced, costing the same as the long RWC-SF trip/commute.

    Caltrain’s current fare study must, among other things, fix this glaring problem with station-to-station (distance-based) fares like BART has always had. Caltrain can and should retain its passes, etc., but the TVMs should be reprogrammed to have riders enter their destination station (can be done with only one extra keystroke) and then calculate the fare based on distance traveled. There, fixed it.

    Joe Reply:

    Palo Alto is Santa Clara county
    Redwood of city is San Mateo county

    Nothing arbitrary.

    Does a VTA bus pass work on Samtrans?

    Complexity!!

    Get a Monthly Caltrain pass. Pay a bit more crossing county boundaries.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Yeah, but that county line is arbitrary. Very Arbitrary. And it would probably be better for everyone 85% of San Mateo County joined Santa Clara County (and Daly City and South SF can join San Francisco.) Palo alto and Redwood City have more in common with eachother than with most other places in their respective counties, but they don’t function that way. Its ridiculous.

    Joe Reply:

    Look – this is a common issue.

    There are always boundaries and people who live at the boundary deal with it.

    I’m a VTA user and live in a part of the county (a city at the boundary) with far less bus options. I also have access to bus trips that travel pretty far for a simple fee.

    Let’s spend a gazillion brain cells and complex system to figuring out the discount for having fewer bus route choices and the access to long trip buses.

    Or let’s just deal with it.

    Caltrain zone fares are pretty well weighted for distance and I be happy to add a few zones to make travel more complicated for mid Pennisula riders.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The rest of the world, including people right across the Bay, cope with having separate fares for each station you could go to.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or you can be LA, and travel anywhere for just $1.75. Which is sort of ridiculous for trips longer than some states.

    Joe Reply:

    Metra in Chicago is similar to Caltrain in service and equipment and it also uses zones.

    Things can be different — let’s fix a problem and make new problems.

    Make Caltrain like BART. No more passes and we all pay with card. Awesome and everyone will be happy to pay by the trip and forgo a monthly pass and eliminate subsidized monthly passes.

    Or maybe we do both! Complexity can be fixed with a smartphone app. Scan your phone. Buy a phone with data plan. This is going to help the working poors.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Joe, you blowhard … the fare zone 2/3 boundary is between RWC and Atherton. Nothing whatsoever to do with county or city (i.e. Sunnyvale and Lawrence are in different zones!) boundaries.

    A short one-station-stop ride and back across a fare zone boundary costs $11.50 … the same as a long 13-station-stop ride (or commute) from RWC to SF. And more than 7-station-stop RWC-Millbrae ride. It’s fucking nuts and grossly inequitable and unfair and artificially depresses ridership between, say, RWC and Menlo Park or Palo Alto and other otherwise reasonable/popular short trips which happen to cross the ~13.5-mile fare zone boundaries chosen during the prior fare zone & tariff revamp about 15 or so years ago (I could look it up, but close enough).

    Oh, and distance-based station-to-station fares would be relatively easy to implement and would have no effect the ongoing availability of existing — or introduction of new — pass types. And the base fare and distance rae could be chosen to attempt revenue neutrality. But with the inherent increased fare equity due to distance proportionality, some riders will pay more, some less, and the rest about the same.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    One interesting fare zone idea is to retain fare zones as they are, but only have fares go up if your trip includes 3+ fare zones. That way, you could travel to any point in your zone and the two zones neighboring yours for the cheapest fare, and only see your fare go up if you’re crossing an entire zone, which means you’re travelling relatively far.

    Joe Reply:

    Blowhard still see’s someone nitpicking over boundary problems. Blowhard wants to keep fare system simple.

    “Intelligent reasonable rail advocates” want multiple, redundant fare policies because they have too much free time riding the train.

    The cowardly way pretends there should be two different fare structures.

    Joe Reply:

    Oh, and distance-based station-to-station fares would be relatively easy to implement and would have no effect the ongoing availability of existing — or introduction of new — pass types. And the base fare and distance rae could be chosen to attempt revenue neutrality. But with the inherent increased fare equity due to distance proportionality, some riders will pay more, some less, and the rest about the same.

    You can eat your cake.
    You can still have your cake.

    This change will fix the suppressed travel between Palo Alto and Redwood City. High priority!!!

    EJ Reply:

    Radical idea I know, but if you’re just taking a short trip on the Caltrain corridor, can’t you take the bus? There are major streets parallelling the Caltrain corridor for almost its entire length.

    Joe Reply:

    @EJ
    Yes.
    We do use the bus (22 and 522) between Palo Alto and Sunnyvale despite having a unlimited monthly Caltrain pass.

    It’s easier and **faster** unless we happen to time a train but the majority of destinations are on El Camino. Stanford, Whole Foods, Palo Alto medical, bike shops and etc.

    The intent to make Caltrain redundant with the most popular bus routes which run on El Camino is transit nerd thinking.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    There isn’t anything wrong with taking the bus, but, coming back to the RWC-Palo Alto example, the train takes 1/3 the time of the bus. The train operating every 10 min all day would always be the better option for trips over a couple of miles. Its the same logic with the Wilshire Blvd subway in LA. The bus is great and heavily used, but the train will ALWAYS beat it from Koreatown to Beverly Hills, for example, one it is built. The bus will generally be more useful for 1-2 mile trips due to its location right there on the street, but not beyond that.

    Jerry Reply:

    Speed up the buses.

    Joe Reply:

    My reality is it’s faster end to end on the bus because it’s such a frequent route with Express bus service.

    I get it that a web browser tells you otherwise but when you actually have to get around, a bus running every ten and Express every 15 that goes in front of a store is much faster than a train to a station.

    Let’s say it’s 8;45. Experience says the VTA Express from Sunnyvale to Stanford is faster than Caltrain.

    Jerry Reply:

    BRT
    Bus Rapid Transit
    Dedicated BRT on El Camino from San Jose to Palo Alto is a VTA project. But of course the usual suspects are opposed. (Consult SAMTRANS for a connection from Palo Alto to Redwood City.)
    Even San Francisco is putting in its first BRT on Van Ness.
    Hey, even Cleveland, Ohio has BRT.

    Jerry Reply:

    Think outside the box.
    All trains do not have to go to S.F.or S.J.
    Shorter, more frequent, one fare, trains betwee, say, Burlingame and Sunnyvale should at least be tested. (Feel free to pick your own ends.)

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    BRT is not as fast or efficient as rail. I have yet to encounter a situation where it is the better option of the two. Also, Clem made a very nice proposed schedule with trains not running the full route that can be viewed here: http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2013/10/census-driven-service-planning.html Its local service also has the obvious potential to extend across Dumbarton and become ACE service.

    Roland Reply:

    South County Caltrain “service” will not survive the $4 185 Express non-stop to Sunnyvale & Mountain View.

    Joe Reply:

    Assclown who parades at public meetings and demands more toilets on trains thinks buses in congested traffic will replace Caltrain.

    VTA 121 already expresses from GLY to Sunnyvale. Prior the 151 epxeesssd to Sunnyvale and mountain view. 168 expresses to Diridon.

    These are complementary bus runs and not replacements for south county service.

    Capitol Corridor still lists 2017 for train service from salians to San Jose.
    MST runs a bus now.

    I don’t take Trolland seriously.

    Roland Reply:

    Has the Oracle of Gilroy looked at 185 routes and timetables let alone heard of $350M of Measure B dedicated transit lanes?

    Joe Reply:

    First you chickened out as usual and refuse to make a definitive statement.

    Second, VTA has been running Express buses between Gilroy to mountain view since at least the mid 90’s.

    Then the 152 to mountain view was terminated and 121 took over ending in Sunnyvale.
    The VTA still 168 runs to Diridon.

    Bus Schedules always have some overlap with Caltrain.

    VTA 185 restores and expands on the old VTA 151 service.

    Transit lanes are HOV lanes today and run down to Morgan Hill.
    Express buses use Monterey highway from Gilroy to Morgan Hill.
    Nothing changes.

    Trolland needs to try harder.

    Roland Reply:

    Did the waft of garlique emissions emanate from the trou de balle de Gilroy?

    Joe Reply:

    No link to Caltrain cutting south county service.
    Sad.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    @Joe. Has Caltrain commited to cutting South County service (as it should), once Cap Cor to Salinas opens? Of course, Cap Cor to Salinas should operate more than 2 trains daily (at least 3, so Gilroy doesn’t get less service than it currently has.)

    Roland Reply:

    The VTA is responsible for 100% of the costs of Caltrain service south of Tamien and there is $14M in Measure B for a 4th train in the morning and evening (total 8/day).
    The 185 is an experiment similar to the Dumbarton Express to test the ridership in the 85 corridor. The VTA is also increasing 168 service which is SRO.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @Joe: “Metra in Chicago is similar to Caltrain in service and equipment and it also uses zones.”

    Yes, Chicago Metra has zones but they are significantly shorter than Caltrain zones, 5 miles vs. 13 miles for Caltrain. Therefore the Chicago system is inherently more equitable than Caltrain. The base fare is similar but the per zone charge is much lower than Caltrain and the first zone crossed is a low $0.25 which addresses the short trip between zone boundaries. The reasoning behind the current Caltrain zones was to make the Caltrain fare from Millbrae to SF comparable to the BART fare from Millbrae to SF.

    I made up a spreadsheet of Caltrain stations and distances then set a base fare of $2.00 + $0.15/mile, creating a truly equitable distance based fare table for Caltrain, and then applied a 26.5 multiplier for the monthly pass, etc. This can be programmed into the TVM’s, or even a Smartphone app.

    No one is saying to not have TVM’s except maybe contractors promoting Clipper.

    How is a more equitable fare system more difficult or create (what?) problems?

    There is nothing to prevent BART from having monthly passes, except for management resistance; they are the only system that doesn’t have monthly passes. And BART is not all card based, they still sell stored value tickets from TVM’s.

    Joe Reply:

    Equitable ?

    Add a zone. Where ever you do, someone will find a inequitable problem. So add one.
    This is about tinkering and some people spending too much time making problems.
    You all are obsessing over boundary conditions and want to make caltrain more complicated.

    You all know our buses charge a flat rate.

    Jerry Reply:

    Don’t NYC subways charge a flat rate?

    Reality Check Reply:

    “More complicated”!?

    Short of a flat fare, knowing and entering your destination station (vs. fare zone) is simple … and fares continuously reflecting distance traveled are suddenly equitable for all instead of today’s bizarrely inequitable discontinuous fare scheme where riding 2 miles in one direction might cost more than riding 12 miles in the other depending on where you happen to be standing/living/working with regard to arbitrarily-set long fare zone boundaries.

    Easy, logical and fair to all. Simple.

    joe Reply:

    More complicated. You forgot you wanted to keep both systems. Now you’re abandoning the zone system and complicating monthly passes.

    Distance based fares would shift costs to from some counties to others. And I bet you’ll pay less.

    Tell us the distance between SF and Oakland and what’s the BART fare??
    No system does distance based fares. Y

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The simplest system would be to have fare zones by counties , but only have fares go up if your trip includes 3+ fare zones. That way, you could travel to any point in your zone and the two zones neighboring yours for the cheapest fare (ie. Oakland to San Francisco), and only see your fare go up if you’re crossing an entire zone, which means you’re travelling relatively far (ie. Oakland to RWC). This makes sense because it could be unified across all modes–bus, BART, Caltrain, etc. It is difficult to implement distance-based fares on a bus.

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Joe: Unsure what you mean by keeping “both systems” because zones would be gone. All ticket types (including passes) would be priced based on the one-way distance. As they are today, passes, such as day or monthlies, would be priced based on a multiple of the one-way fare (e.g. day = 2x, monthly = 36x).

    A station-to-station fare matrix such as BART has always used quite effortlessly reflects fares based on distance and any other factors the agency desires (e.g. SFO surcharge). Nobody needs to look up or know distances after that.

    Nothing to do with shifting costs whatsoever … only fare equity and simplicity for everyone.

    Of course, since today’s super “chunky” zone-based fares are an indefensibly inequitable mess, fixing that with a revenue-neutral switch to distance-based necessarily means trips between some station pairs will get cheaper and more expensive between others.

    Fun fact: when Caltrain last fiddled with fare zones, they actually reduced the number of zones to reduce the number of fares for the conductors who were still punching and selling tickets on-board to memorize. Of course, it wasn’t long after that that Caltrain went to 100% machine (TVM) based ticket sales and POP and the rationale for big long zones vs. equitable station-to-station fares went out the window along with the end of human-punched tickets.

    joe Reply:

    Different isn’t better.

    Fares based on mileage are inherehtly unfair whioch is whay no system follows that model.

    Fares should consider demand and cost and the fact Caltrain is subsidized by three counties with different geography.

    I lived in SF when the Caltrain ROW was put on a berm and sped up. Your mileage approach ignores that cost. Other riders paid.

    I see BART charges for the Bay crossing. Any attempt to build to TBT will require a fee added to Caltrain riders. So no we don’t charge per mile.

    Adding a matrix zone system is not about equity – it’s about changing how people pay and solves no problem.

    Add a zone or two back but this BART like per station matrix use isn’t about increasing use and will suppress ridership — it’s a complicated fare system designed for commuter users.

    Would you be surprised if your ideal favored your current use pattern?

    Edward Reply:

    The entire country of The Netherlands uses a kilometer system for travel by any ground (or water) means of transportation. And it is all on the same Clipper like card.

    https://www.ov-chipkaart.nl/travelling/how-does-travelling-work/checking-in-and-out.htm

    joe Reply:

    If you will be visiting Amsterdam for a short trip, the Amsterdam Travel Ticket is an all-in public transport solution valid for one or two days. This ticket includes return (2nd class) train travel between Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and any station in Amsterdam. Additionally, the ticket is valid for unlimited travel on all trams, buses (including night buses), metro and ferries operated by public transport operator GVB in Amsterdam itself. A one-day ticket costs €15; a two-day ticket costs €20;

    I don’t see a mileage based systems – rate per mile.

    I see to/from airport trip and unlimited use which isn’t the matrixes station to station fare which is the BART like approach.

    Michael Reply:

    BART’s fares are based on mileage. I cannot find the exact reference, but components are an flat entry charge + mileage + special surcharge (transbay crossing and SFO station, OAK duorailcablebahn… San Mateo County surcharge (used to be only for Daly City before the extension to Colma and then on to SFO).

    Someone (Clem? Jeff?) did an analysis of applying it to Caltrain within the past few years to see how it would compare to the current zones. Just as there are surcharges, there could be discounts added in for stations south of Tamien to balance their mileage cost against the rest of the system.

    Point is, BART is mileage based.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think not offering any sort of monthly pass is a major defect of BART

    Reality Check Reply:

    @Joe: “Different isn’t better.

    Right, but better is better :-)

    @Joe: “Fares based on mileage are inherehtly [sic] unfair whioch [sic] is whay [sic] no system follows that model.

    “Inherently unfair”? WTF? Is it opposite day in Gilroy or something? I guess BART is “no system” then.

    @Joe: “Fares should consider demand and cost and the fact Caltrain is subsidized by three counties with different geography.

    Hilarious coming from an advocate of simple and fair.

    @Joe: “Caltrain ROW was put on a berm […] Other riders paid […] BART charges for the Bay crossing […] TBT will require a fee added

    And so? As BART demonstrates, adjustments, surcharges or discounts can easily be applied to the distance-based fares reflected in the station-to-station fare chart/matrix.

    @Joe: “Adding [sic – switching to] a matrix zone [sic – zones are gone!] system is not about equity – it’s about changing how people pay and solves no problem.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. People still pay the same way they always have and solves the problems described previously.

    @Joe: “matrix use isn’t about increasing use and will suppress ridership

    Making trip cost more proportional to trip distance will suppress ridership? Why wouldn’t it increase ridership between numerous popular station pairs that just happen to be separated by an arbitrary zone boundary, making the per-mile-fare cost-prohibitive? Yes, travel between some of the more widely-separated station pairs which have long enjoyed arbitrarily low per-mile fares to traverse due to their being at the extreme ends of their respective zones will cost more … as they rightly and equitably should. Boo-hoo.

    @Joe: “Would you be surprised if your ideal favored your current use pattern?

    Immaterial and irrelevant!

    But since I’m in RWC, adjacent to a zone boundary to the south. So my cost to ride to Menlo Park or Palo Alto would go down. But since I almost always ride NB to SF (crossing only one zone boundary), my Caltrain spending would rise. But, like everyone else, I’d be a lot more likely to take the train south more. Right now everyone in RWC has to pay for a minimum of TWO zones to travel SB for even even one station stop.

    @Joe: “it’s a complicated fare system designed for commuter users

    No, they’re both simple and neither is “designed for commuters” (whatever that means). But one is inequitable, and the other isn’t. Pay for what you use. No drama.

    Michael Reply:

    @ bahnfreund- BART could do a monthly pass but how it would be implemented could affect its firebox. To be revenue-neutral, it could raise base fares and then offer a monthly discount pass. But as it’s trying to spread the peak hour crowds, it probably wants to increase peak (everyday commuters) fares to encourage off-peak. That could all be done with a monthly pass too. Offer a steep discount to monthly pass holders who travel off peak. Would it work to spread the peak?

    The benefit of a monthly pass is convenience. I buy a monthly MUNI pass and probably don’t save much, but I like the convenience. When I travel, I like to buy a pass when I can. BART has always offered stored ride tickets, or “put $20 in the machine and don’t lose your ticket”. Not discounted, but you don’t need to visit the fare machine every trip. Convenient.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well in Germany there is often a 9 AM pass – it’s cheaper but it’s not valid before 9:00

    And generally people who own a transit pass are more likely to use transit for stuff that’s not commuting than people who don’t.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    BART fare components and ticket pricing can be found here (page 2-10/2-11):
    https://www.bart.gov/sites/default/files/docs/BART%20FY15%20SRTP_CIP%20web_0.pdf

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Michael: “Someone (Clem? Jeff?) did an analysis of applying it to Caltrain within the past few years to see how it would compare to the current zones.”

    I did that analysis a few years back, making comparisons to Chicago Metra system and BART, excluding surcharges, using east bay station pairs for comparable distances. As I recall, the fares for Metra and BART were slightly lower than for Caltrain. I was also pushing Caltrain to adopt the Chicago 5-mile zone system back in the late 1980’s and again in 2003, when Caltrain was realigning the fare/zone system.

    As I posted previously, I recently made up a point to point fare table based on mileage. Initially I was going to try using the BART pricing, i.e. trips up to 6 miles would be the minimum/base fare. However it was suggested to me to just go with a base fare ($2.00) + a per mile charge ($0.15), any base fare and per mile charge could be plugged into the spreadsheet. For monthly pass and 8-ride, any multiplier can be plugged into the spreadsheet. They should also create a 7-day/weekly pass and perhaps make the 8-ride into a 10 ride or 15-20 ride, (it used to be a 20-ride “family” ticket). The result was that fares generally became lower, especially for the shorter trips, and much more equitable.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Would it be legal to charge extra for any given air B&B and give people a discount on their BART fare in return?

    swing hanger Reply:

    I am essentially in agreement, the ideal is more frequent service (“show up and go”) preferably with single level equipment, rather than longer but less frequent double deck stock service, but then you run afoul of the cast-in-stone-canon “ALL passengers must have a seat”.

    Jerry Reply:

    Never heard of that canon.
    During rush hour there are many SRO trains.

    Roland Reply:

    Who needs trains? When was the last time an AV was SRO?

    Roland Reply:

    Why would anyone be stupid enough to build a 350m platform anywhere?

    Clem Reply:

    Someone mentioned 12-car trains, that’s all.

    EJ Reply:

    Why wouldn’t you run 12 car trains if you needed the capacity? It’s not like commuter trains that long are unknown elsewhere in the world.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Hong Kong’s metro system even has 12 car trains. It isn’t that unreasonable.

    EJ Reply:

    Even BART runs up to ten-car trains – granted a BART car is a little bit shorter than a Caltrain car.

    Roland Reply:

    Check & 400m works for me.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    Trains in india are super long… anybody have any ideas how long the platforms are? 350m sounds short…

    Aarond Reply:

    Double deck trains are rather useful as an 80-ft bombardier bilevel with 2×2 seating (ie what Caltrain uses) can hold 136 people max, whileas an 80-ft Comet V with 2×3 seating only has 117 max.

    Across a 6-car train that is a difference of 114 people, which means that in essence a six-car bombardier trainset is equivalent to a 7-car comet trainset. The gains are even larger when multiplied across eight trains (one every 15 minutes for a two-hour commute window), which is a difference of 912 people which is one and a half trains worth of riders.

    Even if Caltrain got space for 10-12 car trains, double deck is still the way to go as the gains keep adding up.

    Aarond Reply:

    Also, if bombardier were to do 2×3 seating, you’d get about 204 people per car. That is 1,224 people per train and 9,792 per commute window. Comet Vs only hold 702 people per train and 5,616 per commute window.

    In essence, bilevels have double the capacity of single deck cars. Which is why they are so prevalent, especially as shorter trains mean shorter (cheaper) station platforms. Bilevels also lend themselves better to lower level platforms.

    EJ Reply:

    Part of the problem with these is they’re high-acceleration, high power output EMUs running off of 25 Kv overhead. Which means a lot of electrical equipment has to be crammed into space that could otherwise hold passengers. In a single level EMU all that stuff would go under the car or on the roof, so the gain in passenger space is not nearly as high.

    Roland Reply:

    The Bombardier Omneo is no longer “underpowered” now that Clem has figured out how to count the cars, so how about having your cake and eating it?

    Clem Reply:

    The Omneo is still reknowned for being underpowered. It is a nice train, <a href="http://caltrain-hsr.blogspot.com/2010/11/future-emu.htmlI said so myself six years ago, but it has now been overcome by events.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Bilevels are prevalent in COMMUTER railways. Caltrain serves a thoroughly URBAN route. Do you see bilevels on BART or the NYC Subway or LA Metro? No you don’t—yet they serve the same sort of market as Caltrain.

    Aarond Reply:

    The NYC A line is 31 miles from Yonkers to Brooklyn, LA’s red line 15. BART’s orange line is 40 miles from Richmond to Fremont, 60 miles if you’re coming in from SF. Caltrain’s corridor is about 90 miles.

    Now, one of the major conceptual problems with BART is that it is trying to be an NYC-style subway, a Key-like interurban and a S-bahn operation. Fact is good subways don’t run 50 miles, they run almost exclusively within urban areas and they are fed riders through suburban-oriented S-bahns and interurbans. For example, see NYC Grand Central (M-N and NYC MTA), Chicago LaSalle street (Metra and CTA), LAUS (Metrolink and LA Metro) or Diridon (Caltrain, ACE and VTA). SF’s Market Street subway was designed to (poorly) emulate this.

    However, most of BART is an intercity operation which it’s equipment is not well suited for (especially transbay trips where bilevel stock would really help). And, instead of working with S-bahn agencies BART has sought to (unsuccessfully) consume them. Caltrain was their third target (after the Key System and Muni).

    So yes, Caltrain does service a different market, one which benefits a lot from bilevel stock. Had BA-RTD opted to use regular track (like the LIRR or NHRR), they would be using exclusively bilevel stock by now.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Caltrain from Tamien (Blossom Hill?) to San Francisco is very different from the Gilroy extension, which is a very different market.

    Aarond Reply:

    Yes but it’s still 50 miles from Diridon to SF which makes it an S-bahn. This is especially true as Caltrain goes to consolidate certain stations (Hayward Park and Hillsdale into Bay Meadows) or eliminate them (Atherton, Belmont, etc).

    Also, part of the reason BART is such a problem is because they kept focusing on being an S-bahn through extensions to Concord, SFO, and Dublin and not expansion within SF itself (say, a 19th/Geary subway). All their expansions likely could have been done cheaper through the CapCor, Caltrain and ACE, and the Transbay Tube would have had a much higher capacity (in terms of passengers/hour) IF it could take normal trains (like the North River Tunnels do).

    However, back then planners wanted a *new* system specifically so they could dump all the old surface rail. This was also before planners realized that San Jose was going to blow up like LA did, which had they known it would have changed what BART itself was.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    It only really starts to function as an S-Bahn if the train ends up traveling via new SF -OAK crossing. Then you would want to add a bunch of stops in SF and get rid of some on the peninsula.

    The magic of S-Bahn is that it is regional / commuter train combined with local fast service in center of dense town, without having a terminal in the downtown.

    synonymouse Reply:

    The SP did not want any passenger service nor anyone getting ideas about expropriating their property.

    Roland Reply:

    So moved. Do I hear a second?
    Oh and BTW, any clues as to where the maintenance facility might get relocated?

    Alan Reply:

    Caltrain was their third target (after the Key System and Muni).

    Caltrain, maybe, but I think it’s a stretch to say that the Key and Muni were “targets” of BART. BART was organized in 1957, and by that time the writing was on the wall for the Key. Caltrans wanted to rebuild the Bay Bridge without the railroad tracks, and they were going to get their way with or without BART. And Muni is still rolling along–perhaps not everything we’d like to see, but it’s still there and still an independent agency.

    synonymouse Reply:

    BART was for all practical purposes Bechtel and the latter was profoundly ashamed of building a railroad. It promised exotic but could not deliver. And of course downtown wanted Manhattan, their god. So you got a faux modern NYC subway.

    Charlie Smallwood told me a couple of things that relate to this. Muni studied bustitution of the Twin Peaks Tunnel but resolved it was too narrow to be safe. And General Motors did indeed oppose the BART measure in 1962 but was given some wrong advice from its lobbyists that the voters would never approve it. So they did not spend the kind of money necessary to try to derail it.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Though it’s independence from a regionwide system isn’t necessarily a good thing.

    Alon Levy Reply:

    Urban rail doesn’t like bilevels for a simple reason: at very high passenger volumes, fast access and egress matters more than seating space. Single-level trains can have more doors and faster egress than bilevels. There are kludges like the three-door bilevels on the RER A, but the gain in seating space is small – the doors are enormous, so as I recall there are only 1/3 more seats than on the single-level, four-door RER B trains.

    This doesn’t apply to Caltrain, I don’t think. The expected passenger volumes just aren’t high enough. The busier stations (except 4th and King, a terminal) have 3,000-4,000 weekday passengers, which isn’t a lot by urban rail standards.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That’s true, but think about potential demand. Not just commuters, but many people using Caltrain multiple times per day for milk run style trips as well, because the system would run every 10 minutes all day to serve the fairly dense areas that have demand and potential for even more density that follow the entore corridor from sf to SJ.

    Joe Reply:

    From Palo Alto to Diridon The VTA 22 / 522 (local and Express) along El Camino is far more affordable and effective for milk runs.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That can be changed.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But 6 tph Caltrain plus HSR would most likely need more than the current two tracks.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    It will need mid-line overtake tracks regardless. Clem wrote a post about this at Caltrain HSR Compatibility Blog.

    Joe Reply:

    Stores along El Camino will need to be changed too.

    If you don’t know an area, it’s easy to make a mistake.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I know what it’s like. It’s like LA. Dozens of short retail properties with parking lining a commercial boulevard that can and will be torn down and replaced with 7 story mixed use TODs if the local government says yes.

    Joe Reply:

    That’s 25 years ago.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    What’s it like today?

    Alan Reply:

    Not to mention that constructing the BART tunnels to dimensions that would handle bilevel cars would have added considerable extra cost to the system. Deeper Market Street subway, deeper trench for the Transbay Tube, all of those tunnels. Makes more sense to increase the available seasts by engineering the system for shorter headways.

    Over its lifetime, BART has endured enough criticism for “reinventing the wheel”. I can just imagine how it would have gone with wide gauge and bilevels…

    Aarond Reply:

    Admittedly, this is all speculative but in 20/20 hindsight that would have at least offered BART the opportunity to cheaply regauge and use normal rolling stock (even it’s the C3s LIRR uses and not taller Bombardiers). It would have cost more money up front but we would have gotten a better system out of it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But a higher up front pricetag might well have dissuaded some marginal places from joining and some marginal stations from being built…

    Aarond Reply:

    What mattered was SF and Alameda, San Mateo voted against joining BART (until the SFO extension in 2003) and Santa Clara was never seriously considered (service would have terminated in Atherton right on the county line as was the case with Fremont on the other side of the bay).

    Within this context, SF and Alameda would have been FAR better off as a true consolidated Bay Area RTD could have developed as the track itself would have been flexible and accommodated anything that runs on normal track.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well, things turned out the way they did. And we can look at whether investing money into loading gauge extensions right now makes sense or whether we can increase capacity in some cheaper ways…

    Domayv Reply:

    would the C3s fit in the small BART tubes.

    Aarond Reply:

    The hypothetical presented is that BART would use indian gauge bilevel stock. In which case, it’s likely that the tubes would have been made bigger.

    Joey Reply:

    Bahnfreund: Almost certainly no (which I only know because I actually entertained the idea at some point). The floors of BART cars are lower than those of most high floor rolling stock, and there is very little clearance above the roof in many areas.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Aarond: and if the tubes were made bigger, they would have to rip open the Transbay Tube to put a new one in and rebore the tunnels. Not really a great idea. Best bet is to modify the stations to use the Spanish Solution

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Would it be cheaper to quadruple track an existing double track line or to make enough room for bilevel rolling stock (yes, I know bilevel seating to single level seating is more 1.5:1 than 2:1, but just for the sake of argument)?

    Would it be cheaper to bore new tunnels next to existing ones or to make existing tunnels broader?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Probably new ones. Nobody has tried the alternative. Beside, it would require shutting down the transbay tube for years, and that would be appalling.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But if you are boring new tunnels anyway, there is a good argument to be made to also build new lines on slightly different alignments serving some additional points…

    Domayv Reply:

    @Bahnfreund: Bilevel rolling stock is impossible due to the narrow clearances lest you want the tunnels to be rebored and the Transbay Tube to be excavated and have a new one put in place, which no doubt would cost way too much money to be worth it. Best bet is either quad-tracking and/or making a new set of tunnels for new lines or (better yet) the Spanish Solution.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well my question was which of the following three offers the best bang for the buck:

    1) rebore tunnels to allow bilevel stock

    2) rebore the tunnels to allow quadruple tracks

    3) build new tunnels more or less parallel to existing ones.

    Also, what is the Spanish solution and how does it create higher capacity?

    Domayv Reply:

    1) It will be really expensive, both in cost and in engineering, and may not be worth the cost
    2) Even more expensive and less likely to be worth the cost than 1)
    3) Doable

    The Spanish Solution is a station layout with two railway platforms, one on each side of the line, to speed up boarding and alighting: passengers board from one side and alight to the other. If there are three platforms (one island platformand twoside platforms) with two tracks, generally the center platform will be a shared exit platform, as there is no benefit in segregating arriving passengers.
    It allows for a much faster flow of passengers coming to/from the trains and less tracks have to be used compared to a regular station with the same frequency of trains. The Odakyu and Keio termini in Shinjuku Station use the Spanish Solution. They also get far more passengers and have a far higher frequency of trains than any of the BART stations, and the Keio terminus only has 2 tracks just like a BART station.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Hm that sounds doable, but it will lengthen the trip of anybody who needs to transfer. And it also needs new platforms to be built, which won’t be free either in terms of money or in terms of political capital.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Bahnfreund: though it would certainly be less expensive than adding new tracks or reboring tunnels. I would say, though, the stations without island platforms would have to be rebuilt extensively, and it would be difficult to implement this on eBART and the Dublin/Pleasanton-Daly City line as their stations are surrounded by the freeway

    Domayv Reply:

    @Baunfreund: And how would it lengthen the trip of anybody who needs to transfer

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Because it would by definition eliminate same platform transfers.

    It would also necessitate trains to have doors on both sides (I don’t know whether BART currently has that). Obviously adding doors costs a handful of seats.

    Domayv Reply:

    @Bahnfreund BART trains have doors on both sides so that issue is taken care of https://oaklandnorth.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/bart_photo3_resize-620×413.jpg

    Joey Reply:

    You can implement the spanish solution but not at every station. Not every station needs it. It’s not worth worrying about the exurban freeway median stations because those stations don’t have enough passenger volume for such a thing to provide any dwell time benefit.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    True, but that’s one of the things were scope creep is likely to come in – everybody gets a station redesign… Just like some station redesign Oprah…

    Joey Reply:

    BART is actually already toying with the idea of building new side platforms at the two stations where it would matter most (Embarcadero and Montgomery)

    synonymouse Reply:

    Best bet is not so many people:

    http://www.cnbc.com/2016/12/16/how-new-yorks-housing-crunch-has-poured-gasoline-on-a-festering-homeless-crisis.html

    EJ Reply:

    The most popular Caltrain trains are the limited stop commuter expresses. That’s still its primary function.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Because it hasn’t been optimized for anything else.

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    bingo

    Jerry Reply:

    Roland wins again.
    You guys let him write the headline.
    But the article was about Atherton.
    Atherton of all places. Where the electrification process is underway.
    From the article:
    Caltrain has been working this week to locate underground utilities, confirm soil conditions and test cables along its right-of-way through Atherton as part of its electrification project.
    City Manager George Rodericks said that Caltrain is working with agencies along the electrification corridor to execute agreements for the work.
    “The town’s effort on this was suspended while the CEQA lawsuit progressed,” said Rodericks, but “now that that has completed, Caltrain has re-approached the town regarding the agreement,” which covers issues such as encroachment permits, lay-down construction areas, truck routes, noise and construction times.

    keithsaggers Reply:

    He said the towers will be set between the two railway tracks, “to the maximum possible,” and that no taking of private property for the project is expected. Some trees may be trimmed or removed

    Jerry Reply:

    The heart of PAMPA gets the nod for the start of the CalTrain electrification project.

  15. keithsaggers
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 20:54
    #15

    $3.2 billion Shafter to Madera 119 miles approved (not Fresno to Madera) and Caltrain electrification.

  16. keithsaggers
    Dec 15th, 2016 at 21:07
    #16

    Item 5
    Board Meeting
    The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), or designee of the CEO, is hereby authorized to issue a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to obtain Statements of Qualifications from entities to provide Early Train Operator services, with the goal of shortlisting a qualified group to invite to participate in the Request for Proposals. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO), or designee of the CEO, is authorized to may make any necessary modifications to the RFQ during the procurement process

    Passed by the Board

  17. Roland
    Dec 16th, 2016 at 03:36
    #17

    Meanwhile in Florida: https://youtu.be/GhJxXqnvUyo

    J. Wong Reply:

    Except what is actually shown is in California! :-) (It’s the 1st Brightline train leaving the Siemens plant on its way to Florida.)

    les Reply:

    Didn’t Rick Scott make his billion off of scams like this within the health industry. Which in turn led to Brightline becoming viable in Florida. El Paso is a breeding ground for these types.
    http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/12288336/timeline-on-el-paso-trolley-city-scams

  18. Roland
    Dec 16th, 2016 at 05:21
    #18

    San Bruno passing tracks: https://youtu.be/UV8C00V3woA?t=852

    J. Wong Reply:

    Tl;dw Not news, but reaffirmation to the San Bruno City Council, no passing tracks and by implication, no straightening of the San Bruno curve.

    The Authority’s plans are for passing tracks mid-Peninsula between at most Redwood City and San Mateo.

  19. morris brown
    Dec 16th, 2016 at 07:40
    #19

    The Voters Speak, The Legislature Interprets–Not Always Correctly

    Just like in AB-1889 (Mullin), the legislature seeks to change a voter approved proposition, without going back to the voters.

    Jerry Reply:

    And meanwhile, the CalTrain electrification project has started in Atherton.

    Alan Reply:

    Game, set, match. Morris loses.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Joy to the world….happy holidays everybody!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Happy Saturnalia!

    Edward Reply:

    I can join in that. Four years of Latin, my worst subject.

    I even extend this wish to those who have run off the rails. I would say “you know who you are”, except that the evidence of this site is that they don’t.

    Of course Christmas is not the birthday of Jesus, just when we commemorate his birth. As Bahnfreund has indirectly pointed out, the date was chosen to provide a counter to Saturnalia. In the same way that the minor feast of Chanukah gives Jewish parents an excuse to give presents lest the young ones feel deprived.

    My brother used to work in Tokyo. Because of the occupation Christmas is a holiday, and any excuse for a holiday will do. My brother pointed out that sometimes they don’t exactly understand the concept. His best example was seeing Santa on a cross. :-)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I once read that in South Korea, Japan or both Christmas is usually celebrated by consuming lots of KFC (or the like).

    And yes, Saturnalia and the Winter solstice have a lot to do with the date of Christmas. If Baby Jesus really was born in the highlands of Galilee in December, the man (and it has to be a man to be so ignorant about babies) who wrote the Gospel according to Lucas should really re-examine whether or not baby Jesus died of hypothermia in that crib.

    Anyway, if you live as far up north as most of Europe, you’d be nuts not to have a festival of lights in late December.

    Edward Reply:

    Another interesting case is Easter Monday. It is not a holiday in the US but is in Indonesia, the largest population Muslim country in the world.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well in most of Latin America Easter is one week of de facto holidays, but then again those are very Catholic places, or at least they were historically.

    How did Easter Monday become a holiday in Indonesia?

    swing hanger Reply:

    KFC in Japan on Xmas- cooked up by KFC in the 1970’s to sell more chicken. Of course it was Coca Cola who made Santa the guy in the jolly red outfit.

    Joe Reply:

    Cinco De Mayo cooked up by Corona beer.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well the Battle of Puebla was a real thing. And it is apparently celebrated in the City and State of Puebla. But it is nowhere near as big as Mexico’s actual independence day. (Which is in September, in case you were wondering)

    joe Reply:

    And Santa is Odin. His helper elves his two crows, Huginn and Muninn, thought and memory.

    EJ Reply:

    Good, get it over with. Get some catenary up, Athertonians will scream about it for a year, and then a year after that they’ll have forgotten it was ever not there.

  20. StevieB
    Dec 16th, 2016 at 12:35
    #20

    Central Valley Construction Update- December 2016

    Conveniently presented as a youTube video so you do not need your reading glasses for the fine print.

    Jerry Reply:

    And it shows the work being done on CP-2.

    Roland Reply:

    Except Richard who does not have sufficient bandwidth.

  21. Joe
    Dec 16th, 2016 at 19:40
    #21

    Great map of USA mega-commuting regions.

    http://geoawesomeness.com/awesome-map-shows-commuter-flow-us/

    HSR will service: Bay Area-Sacramento, Fresno, LA and San Diego Regions.

    EJ Reply:

    San Diego after we’re all dead, if ever.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    We’re not all in our forties or older, you know…

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I don’t think it’s unreasonable to get HSR to San Diego within 35 years anyway.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well that’s a political question, basically. And those are notoriously hard to predict. I do not think anybody in 1978 would have predicted a President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua on good terms with the Catholic Church for the year 2013.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Of cours. We can’t predic, but it is reasonable to think that San Diego HSR could be built within the next 35 years.

    Roland Reply:

    HS2 Phase 1 is pretty much identical to San Diego HSR. Stupid Brits!!!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well who knows what will happen first… HS2 completion or actual Brexit.

  22. keithsaggers
    Dec 16th, 2016 at 19:41
    #22
  23. swing hanger
    Dec 16th, 2016 at 20:53
    #23

    o.t. but a sign that housing being within walking distance of a rail station has become more desirable, at least in parts of the nation where there is a decent rail network:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/16/realestate/suburban-buyers-ask-can-i-walk-to-town.html

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Given the increase in ridership of almost all rail systems in the US in recent years that does not surprise me at all…

  24. Robert
    Dec 17th, 2016 at 11:29
    #24

    Elon Musk is getting into the tunneling business. A good place to start would be for the tunnel under the San Gabriel mountains. Elon’s not much of a fan of HSR though, so most likely he will start with his commute over the Sepulveda Pass. The MTA wants to do a PPP for either a rail tunnel, car tunnel, or both.

    https://electrek.co/2016/12/17/elon-musk-tunnel-digging-boring-company/

    Danny Reply:

    no, Musk 1. got annoyed at traffic again and 2. needs his name in the papers as he switches Washington teats with a new administration coming in

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    He should have just said that he is tremendous, yuuuugggeeee the best, bigly.

    Aarond Reply:

    I can see it now, Embarcadero Freeway 2: the Big(er) Dig. 15 miles of new freeway underneath 3rd, Embarcadero and Lombard. Phase II would be a another 10 miles underneath 19th, Phase III a 10 mile Southern Tube to the Oakland Coliseum.

    Yes this is a fever dream, but I could easily see the city government going for it as a means to remove the surface freeways.

    synonymouse Reply:

    Can’t mess with MTC-ABAG’s holiests of holies broad gauge on 19th Ave.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why don’t you just remove the surface freeways period. You will have a lot of disappearing traffic and save tons of money…

    Ian Mitchell Reply:

    This. Freeways for inter-regional traffic don’t benefit from going under, over, or through dense urban cores. Re-route, re-route, re-route.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Amen.

    Roland Reply:

    Here is a different perspective:

    Elon seriously considered building a tunnel for the hyperloop test track in Hawthorne until he was presented with an $80M “engineering estimate” for a 1-mile long 6-foot diameter tunnel at which point he decided that there had to be a better way and ended up building a cheap pipeline mounted on wood blocks for a fraction of the cost until he came up with a better solution (hence the 6-month delay).

    He is now acutely aware that there has to be some kind of breakthrough in tunneling technology to make the hyperloop financially viable. This is the same process he went through when he started looking at his ultimate objective (Mars) and which eventually resulted in the advent of Falcon and reusable launch vehicles.

    So, what is he going to do about tunnels? First of all, he has most likely already broken down all cost factors involved in building one foot of tunnel and figured out that he can get the biggest bang for the buck by replacing the entire tunnel crew with robots and a fully-automated guidance system.

    Whatever he ends up (Tesla Mole?) will probably be as significant as Brunel’s invention of the tunnel shield 200 years ago and last Wednesday’s meeting with the President-elect may have resulted in an accelerated schedule…

    The tunneling World awaits news from Hawthorne…

    synonymouse Reply:

    Robots do not belong to unions who slip baksheesh to political bosses.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That may be true, but only if musk is as smart as his cult of personality makes him out to be. I have yet to see evidence of his genius.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3916608/Tesla-buy-Grohmann-Engineering-ramp-automated-manufacturing.html

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The Daily Heil, really?

    EJ Reply:

    TBMs are already highly automated. If you could ditch the human crew, why wouldn’t they have figured it out already? The folks at Herrenknecht, etc. are no dummies.

    Danny Reply:

    Musk doesn’t invent new products, he tweaks some techs a little, direct-markets some others, and runs an empire off hopium and sometimes crapping on the alternatives; Ty Warner and Elizabeth Holmes at least came up with something new

    agb5 Reply:

    Has he read the UK governments Guide to Tunneling Costs and seen where to make an order of magnitude saving?

    The largest cost for a 7km tunnel is:

    excavation of material from the face of the tunnel and its transport
    along the tunnel to the tunnel construction site, the cost of the pre-cast concrete linings and their
    transport and installation in the tunnel, tunnel cleaning and strip out of temporary construction
    equipment upon the completion of tunnel boring, and the installation inside the completed
    tunnel of a concrete base incorporating drainage pipes, a concrete evacuation walkway and a
    concrete maintenance walkway.

    Clem Reply:

    Bringing down Hyperloop costs will also bring down HSR costs, because their cost drivers are one and the same.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well maybe Musk did really find some revolutionary way to cut costs on building the stuff that you’d need to build for Hyperloop to work. Him actually getting into the tunneling business would indicate he has or believes to have found something.

    Him announcing going into the tunneling business (without doing so) indicates he knows what he should be doing but cannot pull it off.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2016/12/19/elon-musks-answer-to-traffic-is-boring-tunnels/

    Joe Reply:

    He watches B sci-fi and has brainstorms.
    http://m.imdb.com/title/tt0061387/

    Jerry Reply:

    The majority of financial experts already predict that Musk’s Boring Business will go under.

    Clem Reply:

    Oh, man, that’s deep

    Roland Reply:

    Not really. Just average for this blog…

    Jerry Reply:

    That’s what she said.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    That’s pretty puerile even for you…

  25. keithsaggers
    Dec 19th, 2016 at 13:49
    #25
  26. Reality Check
    Dec 19th, 2016 at 15:02
    #26

    Caltrain suffered another suicide at Chestnut in RWC last night. 10th fatality of 2016.

    Roland Reply:

    Nothing that quad gates cannot possibly fix: https://youtu.be/qsdfYn8bOK8

    Reality Check Reply:

    Quad gates do nothing to someone from stepping off a station platform or ducking under or around a lowered crossing gate into the path of a fast-moving train. The Redwood City suicide was a French tech guy in his 50s with a nice big million+ dollar house and family in a great San Carlos neighborhood.

    Roland Reply:

    Not according to “Caltrain’s” fearless leader who testified on the subject matter during the Federal hearing in San Francisco. https://youtu.be/qsdfYn8bOK8

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    @ Roland: “Nothing that quad gates cannot possibly fix: https://youtu.be/qsdfYn8bOK8

    What the hell is he smoking?

    Quad gates will not stop pedestrians from ducking under or hopping over a lowered set of quad gates. The only way quad gates could stop pedestrians is if they were 8 foot high solid fence/barrier and rose up from below ground level.

    Quad gates will not prevent most accidents where a vehicle illegally stops on the tracks and doesn’t have the space to clear tracks due to vehicles stopped ahead. Quad gates would not have prevented the infamous September 25, 2015, vehicle strike that cut power, lighting, air-conditioning, etc. on a train with over 900 passengers for over an hour. Passengers had to resort to knocking out the emergency windows in order to get some fresh air and get off the train.

    The only benefit of quad gates is they allow establishment of a so-called “quiet zone” where trains don’t have to blow the horn at the crossing.

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/qsdfYn8bOK8?t=75

    Clem Reply:

    While on the subject: the only thing worse than quad gates is quad gates with intrusion detection interlocked into the train’s signaling system. To allow a 110 mph train to stop in time to avoid a detected obstacle, gate down-time has to be increased to such a grossly long period of time (~90 seconds) that it will only tempt pedestrians to duck under. The safety benefit is negative.

    Roland Reply:

    I really wish that you would STFU when you don’t know WTF it is that you are talking about.

    Clem Reply:

    Well, Merry Christmas to you too!

    Roland Reply:

    And a Happy New Year!!!

    Reality Check Reply:

    Sorry @Roland, but Clem’s right: with 79 mph (or faster) trains, quad gates with intrusion detection means our congested Peninsula grade crossings will suffer a huge increase in gate downtime. Today, the constant time warning on most crossings is set such that the train arrives at the crossing 15 to 20 seconds after gates have fully lowered. Obviously this is insufficient time to brake a train to a stop in case a blocked crossing is detected … so gates will have to be lowered as much as 90 seconds or more (4-6x earlier) before trains arrive at the crossing.

    Of course, quad gates without intrusion detection would have done *nothing* to prevented last week’s pre-Christmas Eve suicide at Palo Alto’s Charleston crossing. A Santa Clara man had a NB train slam cab-car first into his pickup truck at Charleston:
    Caltrain collision leaves one dead in Palo Alto

    Luckily there were no injuries aboard the train (good that Caltrain wasn’t running Metrolink’s new supposedly CEM-equipped Hyundai Rotem CEM cars which were derailed with multiple fatalities after hitting a pickup near Oxnard about 2 years ago).

    The Palo Alto Post reported the pickup truck was pushed several hundred feet down the tracks from the Charleston crossing to near the West Meadow crossing.

    This suicide was the 11th death inflicted on Caltrain this year, and 2nd in a week’s time, with the prior one being the suicide on the evening of Dec. 18th — a San Carlos family man and tech guy in his 50s on foot in the vicinity of Chestnut.

    Joe Reply:

    Faster trains
    Longer gate closures
    Quad gates
    It’s pretty simple to see why they’re going in.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Fatality #12 in Burlingame using a NB train near Howard as it was rolling into the station platform area. An traumatized eyewitness who saw the man get hit said it was an obvious suicide.

    Quad gates are for stopping drive-arounds … which are not involved in any of the fatalities — which are essentially all suicides. Quad gates do *nothing* to stop any of the vehicle hits (fatal or not). Only obstruction sensors can do that, and they work equally well without quad gates. And even obstruction sensors do *nothing* to prevent a suicidal driver from waiting until the train is near before driving through the break-away gates and into its path.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Here’s the story on today’s Burlingame suicide:
    One dead after being hit by Caltrain in Burlingame
    Man trespassing on Caltrain tracks hit, killed in Burlingame

    Roland Reply:

    @Reality Check

    I really wish that the self-appointed experts on this blog would stop spreading FUD.

    “If possible, all constant warning devices shall be configured to provide 25 seconds of warning time for trains operating at the maximum authorized district speed. Although federal regulations require a minimum of 20 seconds warning time, the 25 second application should allow for train acceleration in the approach. Additional warning time may be required for “wide track” applications, traffic signal interconnects, and increased time that may be desirable in lowering the gate to accommodate slow
    moving vehicles clearing the track area. The most current AREMA guidelines shall be followed in determining warning times.

    A wide track is a crossing that consists of more than one (1) track, and is greater than 35 feet. Wide track is determined by measuring the distance parallel to the centerline of the roadway between the governing warning device and six (6) feet beyond the furthermost rail on which trains operate. When this distance is greater than 35 feet, one second shall be added for each additional 10 feet, or fraction thereof.

    The termination shunt shall be placed in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations. The minimum placement shall be the required distance to provide the 25 seconds warning time, plus the required reaction time of the device (i.e., normally four seconds). Additional time may be required to preempt an adjacent traffic signal and/or to accommodate clearing vehicles from the wide track
    sections.

    Once the total time requirement is calculated the designer shall determine the required approach circuit distance. The actual location of the termination shunt shall be measured from the point where the signal island circuit is terminated on each side of the crossing.”

    http://www.caltrain.com/assets/_engineering/engineering-standards-2/criteria/CHAPTER7.pdf
    (page 19 Section 4.2 Warning Time).

    Neil Shea Reply:

    AND … Fatality #11, a guy stopped on the tracks on Charleston Rd
    http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/12/23/fatal-caltrain-strikes-vehicle-tracks-palo-alto/

  27. Reality Check
    Dec 19th, 2016 at 17:49
    #27

    Mantaca Bulletin executive editor, Dennis Wyatt:
    ‘High Speed Rail Engine That Could’

    And while the initial hybrid approach uses the twisty and therefore slow tracks over Altamont Pass, the odds are the tracks will eventually be replaced with tunnels and bridges that will straighten the route out and kick up speed even more.

    The reason is simple. The Pacheco Pass is virgin territory for railroad tracks. It also would rattle more than a few people ranging from residents south of San Jose to environmentalists.

    At the same time you’ll talking under 20 miles to replace through the Altamont as opposed to 100 miles or so to build between Merced and a connection with existing tracks south of San Jose.

    […]

    […] such a system allowing you to ride rail to cover most of the distance to high paying Bay Area jobs will address [area code] 209 regional transportation needs. But here’s the drawback: The cities with stops along ACE in the 209 will start growing like Chia Pets.

    What is now coming at us will take growth to another level.

    The signs are already there that the land east of the Altamont is the new promised land for families with fat Bay Area checks that want to live in a traditional house versus a townhouse or apartment that are essentially only what is being built today in any quantity from San Jose to San Francisco.

    Jerry Reply:

    “If the courts concur the legislation was unconstitutional, it still won’t stop the mutant high speed rail.
    Trying to kill off a massive project that breathes life into a small army of bureaucratic zombies that feeds at the public trough to survive is about as crazy as driving to Las Vegas and putting $10,000 down for the San Francisco 49ers to beat the Cleveland Browns in the upcoming Super Bowl.”
    The train is coming down the tracks.
    One way. Or another.

    Roland Reply:

    “You will not see high speed rail per se from LA to San Francisco any time soon given cost factors and urban opposition. But you will see more semi-direct passenger service that while not super speedy will be much more useful for the general public.

    What makes this approach ironic is that you can argue improved heavy rail — not too fast and not too slow but at just the right speeds — that serves the growing inland California bedrooms for coastal metro areas will produce more robust ridership numbers. The reason why Japan’s high speed rail works as well as it does in terms of ridership is it is targets daily commuters that provide a deeper ridership than those that may venture once a month — if that — between LA and San Francisco.”

    Same in Ashford, Kent, UK, courtesy of 37-minute Javelin service to St. Pancras via HS1:
    https://youtu.be/VVwBTrnkmNA?t=19

    StevieB Reply:

    The Manteca Bulletin Opinion piece is difficult to comment on because I do not know what Altamont rail plan he is talking about. Wyatt seems to be talking about Bakersfield to Merced HSR connecting to ACE.

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.acerail.com/About/Public-Projects/ACEforward

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Which is hopefully/maybe actually going to happen.

    Roland Reply:

    Well Yeah, Duh!

  28. Roland
    Dec 19th, 2016 at 21:05
    #28
  29. John Nachtigall
    Dec 19th, 2016 at 21:17
    #29

    Bahnfreund And others with ties to Germany

    My condolences for the event attack

    Peter Reply:

    It’s surreal. I lived 5 minutes away from where the attack occurred. For 12 years. And I spent a lot of time at that Weihnachtsmarkt.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Thankfully nobody I know has been hurt, but it really sucks hearing about it and it sucks even more that the AfD types began dancing on the graves of the victims before the bodies were even cold.

    I hope whoever did it is caught soon and will rot in jail for the next twenty years.

  30. StevieB
    Dec 20th, 2016 at 11:48
    #30

    People are still moving here, despite the state’s relatively high taxes and cost of living. The Department of Finance on Monday estimated net migration of 70,000. California’s population grew by 295,000 people to 39.4 million from July 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016. Building more roads so that everyone in California can drive in single occupancy cars is unacceptable.

    joe Reply:

    Housing costs and transit are the biggest problems in CA. We need to add housing with infill and improve public transit.

    Today approximately 35,000 workers use corporate shuttle buses to get to and from work and the roads are still maxed out anyway. We are very far behind in the Bay Area.
    http://sfist.com/2016/09/15/800_round_trips_per_day_bay_area_sh.php

    A new granny unit law relaxing parking reqs for units near transit will help — http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2016/09/29/building-that-in-law-unit-for-granny-gets-easier/
    That would eliminate the need to add a parking space for up to a 600 sq ft unit.

    Some designs offered by the city of Santa Cruz
    http://www.cityofsantacruz.com/departments/planning-and-community-development/programs/accessory-dwelling-unit-development-program/adu-prototype-architects

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The sad part is that there is sooooo much land that could handle millions more people just inside the urbanized area alone.

    Jerry Reply:

    Tell that to PAMPA and other Peninsula locations.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I think we should let the free market decide whether housing or retail gets parking and we should let them charge market based rates.

    Wells Reply:

    The argument I’m using is States Rights. Think about it, okay?
    No, you’re all such smarter types who’re more interested in frickin’ statistics,
    like yeah whatever. Not that California would secede, also called a ‘distraction’
    from the more obvious truth, truths, worse case scenarios notwithstanding.
    Federal funding is OFF the table. Idiota hired oil guys, old generals, Wall Street and Bankruptcy experts for advice. Read the writing on the wall… #1 objective: OIL WAR. #2, impoverishment. #3, worldwide affect. #4, burn the environment. #5, shelter the wealthy. #5, build economies completely dependent upon oil, then cut off food supply. #6, party at survival stages 1 thru 5. #8, continue orange-haired progeny in new PAC with whites divided, all ethnicities divided, non-whites set on courses of militant means for survival.
    I’m proud of CAHSR despite
    Altamont receiving such stupid reviews against it.
    It looks like ACE planners have a decent enough investment.
    Expect the ORANGEMAN BASTARD in WH to ignore your asses completely.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Dude, proof-reading. Please.

    It’s hard to understand what you’re getting at.

    Wells Reply:

    Not that between 13th and 15th increases weren’t either exponential.
    Presenting this percentage as ‘less than’ distracts attentions adequately.
    The Orangeman will not listen to Seattlers nor SanJoseans in your meek requests,
    forgods sake. Is that understood? Poison is coming your way. Oilpoisoners!

    INSLEE HAS A MANDATE!

    The mandate? FU Orangeman!

    Roland Reply:

    Das Argument, das ich verwende, sind Staatenrechte. Denken Sie darüber nach, okay?
    Nein, Sie sind alle so schlauer Typen, die mehr in frickin ‘Statistiken interessiert sind, wie yeah whatever. Nicht, dass Kalifornien würde secede, auch als “Distraktion”
    Aus der mehr offensichtlichen Wahrheit, Wahrheiten, Worst-Case-Szenarien ungeachtet.
    Bundesfinanzierung ist OFF der Tabelle. Idiota mietete Öl-Jungs, alte Generäle, Wall Street und Insolvenz Experten für Beratung. Lesen Sie das Schreiben an der Wand … # 1 Ziel: Ölkrieg. # 2, Verarmung. # 3, weltweit beeinflussen. # 4, die Umwelt zu verbrennen. # 5, Schutz der Reichen. # 5, bauen Volkswirtschaften völlig abhängig von Öl, dann abgeschnitten Lebensmittel liefern. # 6, Partei bei den Überlebensstadien 1 bis 5. # 8, weiterhin orangefarbenen Nachkommen in neuen PAC mit Weißen geteilt, alle Ethnien geteilt, Nicht-Weißen auf Kurse der militanten Mittel für das Überleben gesetzt.
    Ich bin stolz auf CAHSR trotz Altamont empfängt so dumme Kritiken dagegen.
    Es sieht aus wie ACE-Planer haben eine menschenwürdige genug Investition.
    Erwarten Sie die ORANGEMAN BASTARD in WH zu ignorieren Ihre Ärsche vollständig.

    Peter Reply:

    It doesn’t make any more sense in Google-Translate-German.

    Roland Reply:

    That’s because you used Google Translate to translate it back into English.

    Reality Check Reply:

    10 years worth of Google Translate was recently dumped for a new AI-based “engine” and it’s said to be far, far better than it ever was. Read all about it in this fascinating piece published last week in the New York Times Magazine.

    Short exerpt:

    … 2016 seemed like a good time to consider an overhaul of Google Translate — the code of hundreds of engineers over 10 years — with a neural network. The old system worked the way all machine translation has worked for about 30 years: It sequestered each successive sentence fragment, looked up those words in a large statistically derived vocabulary table, then applied a battery of post-processing rules to affix proper endings and rearrange it all to make sense. The approach is called “phrase-based statistical machine translation,” because by the time the system gets to the next phrase, it doesn’t know what the last one was. This is why Translate’s output sometimes looked like a shaken bag of fridge magnets. Brain’s replacement would, if it came together, read and render entire sentences at one draft. It would capture context — and something akin to meaning.

    Peter Reply:

    That’s because you used Google Translate to translate it back into English.

    No, I used my fluency in German to read it.

    Jerry Reply:

    Translations? Old story.
    Military officials considering an IBM translator asked for a demonstration. IBM put in:
    Out of sight,
    Out of mind.
    The Chinese symbols came up on the screen. The military officials asked that those symbols be newly entered with the request for an English translation. Which came back:
    Invisible,
    Idiot.

    Jerry Reply:

    PS @ Reality Check
    The Times article is fascinating.
    Thanks.

    Jerry Reply:

    My own funny experience with the old IBM translator (1965 – Russian) was my entering:
    Я не знаю
    Which was correctly translated into English as: I don’t know.
    However, the IBM operator was astonished and thought their new computer was thinking on its own by responding, “I don’t know.”
    Until I broke his Eureka moment by explaining that it was simply a correct translation.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well in English it sounds like Alex Jones, in German it sounds like RT Deutsch… Or some AfD voter…

  31. morris brown
    Dec 21st, 2016 at 09:06
    #31

    High-speed rail board approves plan, gets sued

    Article has a short video with Stuart Flashman, explaining the problems with the Funding Plan and AB-1889

    Jerry Reply:

    “In response, CHSRA spokesman Lisa Marie Alley wrote, “We are in the business of building high-speed rail in California, putting people to work and investing in our future. Our opponents are in the business of filing lawsuits, delaying the project and raising the cost of the program at the expense of the taxpayers.””

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    She’s not wrong.

    Jerry Reply:

    The article from the California Farm Bureau Federation also reports that:
    “Annie Parker, a CHSRA information officer, said the authority has 996 parcels in its possession out of 1,614 needed for three construction areas in the Central Valley.”
    Practically all of the current construction is taking place adjoining public roads, railroads, and rivers.
    When construction actually starts through the open fields of the vast farm land I believe farmers will become more agitated. So far, over 600 large parcels are necessary before the “easy” construction begins.

  32. Reality Check
    Dec 21st, 2016 at 13:07
    #32

    Some important job openings at Caltrain:

    • Chief Financial Officer
    • Director, Engineering & Maintenance
    • Director, IT & Telecommunications
    • Deputy Director, Railroad Systems Engineering “Responsible for all railroad systems engineering and the integration of civil and systems contracts including communications, Positive Train Control (PTC) [aka CBOSS] and control systems, signaling, grade crossings, overhead contact system (OCS), traction power, Electric Multiple Units (EMU) vehicles, CCTV, Public Address (PA), and Visual Message Signs (VMS). Responsible for the development and oversight of all aspects of the Caltrain PTC system including back office/wayside/onboard communications systems.”
    • Director, Contracts and Procurement
    • Director, Safety and Security

    It would appear there may have been a major “housecleaning” and/or exodus!

    Roland Reply:

    A May 2016 APTA Peer Review Panel of the CBOSS project raised serious questions about Caltrain’s project management capabilities and JPB oversight that have similar implications to PCEP. These include:

     “The panel notes that the PTC CBOSS project is just one of several complex infrastructure projects that will require Caltrain to take a serious look at inhouse technical management resources.”

     “Caltrain needs to directly hire a project manager with requisite technical experience and provide that person with the authority to manage the interests of Caltrain”

     “…this has consequently led to unresolved technical and contractual issues. Despite the recent partnering session, there continues to be a lack of commitment to resolving contractual issues such as scheduling and cost.”

    The PCEP Organization Structure provided by JPB on November 17, 2016 and dated August 4, 2016 shows consultants in most key roles. The review noted that the majority of the PCEP project management team members are consultants, including the Chief Officer, who reports directly to the JPB’s General Manager. The highest ranking positions that are filled with agency staffer members are the Deputy Chief Officer and Caltrain/PCEP Program Management Director. The Organization Chart
    also indicates a “Mod-Squad” of senior officials that includes the Chief Communications Officer, Chief Operating Officer/Rail, Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer, Chief Officer of Planning and Grants for the Transportation Authority and the General Counsel.

    However, we note that one of the issues on the CBOSS project was that, while consultants were in project management positions, they were not mandated and empowered to make commitments on behalf of the JPB and this led to project delays.

    With few agency staff members in the overall project organization and senior executive leadership provided by consultants, there is a question whether the consultant staff will have sufficient authority to act on behalf of the agency for effective management of the various design and construction contracts. There also is a question whether the organization provides adequate representation of agency and public interests. THE AGENCY’s EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AND THE MOD SQUAD WILL NEED SUFFICIENT TIME AND UNDERSTANDING OF PROJECT TECHNICAL AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES IN ORDER TO PROVIDE THE NECESSARY OVERSIGHT AND AUTHORITY FOR EFFECTIVE PROGRAM DELIVERY.

    The agency is aware of this situation and have informed the reviewers that they believe that they have the means and processes in place to manage the project.

    http://hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2016/brdmtg_121316_item3_ATTACHMENT_Ind_Consult_Report_SF_SJ_Peninsula_Corridor_Funding_Plan.pdf PP 24-25

    Jerry Reply:

    Gee. No one saw that coming.

    Roland Reply:

    Founded in 1971, Krauthamer & Associates is a boutique executive search firm providing retained recruitment services to a diverse client base in the United States and abroad. Our practice includes executive recruitment, succession planning management, and the identification of key additions to both corporate and advisory boards. http://www.krauthamerinc.com/

    Thank God the Mod Squad put the Krauts in charge of recruitment !!!

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Also of note, the Wednesday night (21-Dec-2016) JPB CAC Meeting was cancelled at the last minute, couldn’t reach anyone at Caltrain to find out why.

    Roland Reply:

    Same with the LPMG meeting last week: http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/Caltrain+Modernization+Program/Meetings/December+2016+LPMG+E-Update.pdf

    Edward Reply:

    Too many people unavailable because of the holidays?

  33. morris brown
    Dec 21st, 2016 at 18:14
    #33

    In an article containing more than the usual amount of pure BS, I copy below, because it may be behind a pay-gate.

    Why in the world would any operator want to invest when they are sure to be investing in a money losing train, which is unable to have an operating subsidy. This seems just like another PR priece from the Authority, trying anyway possible to secure needed funds. The author ignores of fails to even know that the last attempt to interest private equity was a major fiasco.

    As I recall, there was the promise of tens of thousands of jobs to be created, and now with “full construction” proceeding only 1000 jobs seems pretty small.

    morris

    ==============

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2016/12/13/getting-to-the-nub-of-californias-high-speed-rail.html

    Getting to the nub of California’s high-speed rail: Will private sector invest?

    California’s high-speed rail system is now less than a year from addressing one of the biggest financial questions in its future: Will the private sector invest?

    When the California High-Speed Rail Authority board voted Tuesday to solicit qualifications from commercial operators for an early consulting and operating deal, it started the countdown toward choosing one by summer that should bring some cash to the project.

    “One of the things that will lead to a very robust competition for the early operator is that ­ if they’re smart ­ they will see that, while [cash] doesn’t give them a guarantee, it certainly gives them an inside track to being the ultimate operator,” board chair Dan Richard said. “They have to perform, but certainly that’s one of the benefits of doing it. It enhances their ability to compete for the long-term operator of the system.”

    This initial step toward the operational phase of the project ­ the first trains are supposed to begin serving San Jose in 2025 ­ came on the same day that the board authorized the steps necessary to spend $3.2 billion in Prop 1A bond money authorized eight years ago by voters.

    While some bond funds have been spent on environmental work and administrative costs, this is the first time bond funds will be spent on construction. The money will be spent finishing the federally funded construction now under way in the San Joaquin Valley and electrifying the Caltrain tracks along the Peninsula that the system will use for its trains between San Jose and San Francisco.

    Acknowledging the public perception of the project as a snail crawling toward an unreachable goal ­ “It’s a meme now for high-speed rail,” Richard said ­ he cited the operator vote and bond spending as important for turning that perception around.

    “What happened today is important because what it says to people is that regardless of all those other things, regardless of what they’ve heard, there is real momentum. California is building high-speed rail. There are almost a thousand people working directly on the project right now.”

    The system’s current business plan estimates that getting the initial operating segment from San Jose to near Bakersfield will cost $20.7 billion. Another $2.9 billion, which hasn’t been found yet, is necessary to stretch the northern and southern ends of that segment to San Francisco and Bakersfield.

    By 2029, when the full Phase 1 of the system is due to begin operations south from Bakersfield to Los Angeles and Anaheim, the current cost estimate is $64 billion. The combination of Prop 1A bond funds ($9 billion), federal stimulus grants ($3.5 billion) and cap-and-trade revenues ($30 billion under the most optimistic forecast) still leaves more than $21 billion to be found somewhere.

    That’s the gap that Richard says that a commercial operator will help close. Signing a deal with an early operator as a consultant on decisions affecting the commercial viability of the system, which, by law, must operate without subsidy, is key to the success of that aspect of the project.

    “In the future we will be auctioning off the rights to operate on this infrastructure to a rail operator,” Richard said. “We don’t want them to come in at that point and say ‘Wait a minute. Why did you put the maintenance facility here? Why did you do this? It really makes it less valuable for me.’ We want to enhance the value and get the biggest check that we can from the private sector. And that means getting someone in with that commercial experience early and infusing those ideas into the design, to really maximize the value of this enterprise when it goes into full commercial operation.”
    Jody Meacham is a reporter for the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

    Anandakos Reply:

    Um, er, ah, the “thousands of jobs” INCLUDES those created throughout The Valley by greater ease of access from the Metropoli at both ends of the project.

    Of course you know that; you’re not stupid, just craven.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Plus all the jobs created by the money that stay in California instead of being spent on Saudi Oil.

    To understand the concept, imagine a town where there is one big employer (e.g. a mine) and ask yourself what happens to the bakers and butchers when that big employer goes belly up.

    Roland Reply:

    Nebraska & Dakota are located in Saudi Arabia? Did you flunk geography in high school?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Well from a California standpoint they could as well be. Because the money spent even on Nebraska oil (btw, numbers please on how much oil the US gets from where – peak oil stateside was decades ago) ain’t comin’ back to Cali.

    Oh and as for flunking Geography – we had to chose two subjects in which we were to take more intense classes for the last two years of high school (they would count more towards the diploma and you’d have to take a test in them and two other subjects for another big chunk of the final grade). Point is, those two subjects in my case were Geography and English.

    agb5 Reply:

    You underestimate the number of large global institutions who worry about the collapse of the economy/monetary-system and are looking to put their money into hard assets that can make a steady return during a crisis.
    Some governments have no problem selling bonds with negative interest rates.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Some pension fund in Quebec is among the main investors in Eurostar…

    Roland Reply:

    Caisse de depot is not a pension fund
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/transport/11448231/Government-nets-750m-from-Eurostar-stake-sale.html

    You may be getting confused with the HS1 franchise which is up for sale
    https://www.pehub.com/canada/2016/12/omers-ontario-teachers-contemplate-sale-of/#

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If it’s not a pension fund which is it?

    And don’t come with some business administration mumbo-jumbo…

    Roland Reply:

    You are getting mixed up between a caisse de depot and a caisse de retraite.

  34. Anandakos
    Dec 22nd, 2016 at 00:41
    #34

    Well he’s the Flash Man
    He’s the Flaaash Man…..

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    what?

    Edward Reply:

    He’s riffing on Stuart Flashman, the lawyer representing (?) the anti-HSR people.

  35. Roland
    Dec 22nd, 2016 at 03:34
    #35

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/hitachi-orders-rolls-royce-powerpacks.html

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/11/08/tories-accused-of-another-broken-promise-as-electrification-of-g/

    Neville Snark Reply:

    i know that most the people on here know this full-well, but this is an example of how superior electric trains are to diesels (89% of readers say the gov’t is making a mistake). Of course the costs are higher to start, but electrics are quieter (much), more efficient, cleaner, cheaper to operate, and faster (acceleration and braking). People here in the UK generally know this, but these facts ought to be shouted from the rooftops in California, as most people there probably think of trains in terms of those big diesel locomotives …

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    To say nothing of the long term implications of having to import Diesel or being able to produce electricity from California wind and sun…

    Roland Reply:

    Are you talking about biodiesel from Singapore or something else?

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/traction-rolling-stock/single-view/view/coradia-liner-inter-city-multiple-unit-on-test.html

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/single-view/view/sncf-orders-electro-diesel-inter-city-trainsets.html

    Clem Reply:

    3 year old news… and what is the relevance to California?

    Roland Reply:

    “The FTA very recently informed the JPB that it requires the JPB sponsors to commit an additional 10% (or $200 million) beyond the adopted budget to ensure that any cost over-runs or shortfall in revenues will be covered without additional federal assistance. The FTA imposed a similar requirement for the Central Subway FFGA for federal funds in Fiscal Year 2011. For the PCEP, JPB has asked its members – San Mateo County Transit District/San Mateo County Transportation Authority, Valley Transportation Authority, City and County of San Francisco – and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission to each adopt a Board resolution to commit up to $50 million to satisfy this condition. The action is time sensitive given the required 30-day Congressional review of the FFGA package and other FTA approvals that need to happen in order for JPB to give its PCEP contractor a full Notice to Proceed, locking in the current contract price and other terms by March 2017. Following consultation with the Mayor’s Office, SFMTA and the Controller’s office, we are recommending that the Transportation Authority commit up to an additional $50 million in State Regional Improvement Program funds to cover San Francisco’s share of the FTA’s requirement. The 2017 PCEP Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding commits the JPB to establishing an oversight protocol with the funding partners, including the Transportation Authority, which is in place and which we believe substantially lowers the risk of cost over-runs above the budgeted project contingency.”
    http://www.sfcta.org/special-board-january-5-2017

  36. Roland
    Dec 22nd, 2016 at 03:37
    #36

    Leo Express buys 3 EMUs for $20M: http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1024648.shtml

  37. Jerry
    Dec 22nd, 2016 at 22:20
    #37

    We must update our nuclear infrastructure. We have too many old bombs.
    Cost? Only $1 Trillion Dollar$.
    Well there goes OUR money for rail infrastructure updates.

    Aarond Reply:

    Give him some credit, he’s making a stink over the F-35 (as of yesterday, he has asked Boeing over Twitter to make a counter-bid with their F-18). It won’t go anywhere, but give credit where credit is due.

    joe Reply:

    He’s by passing the DoD, Joint Cheifs, & Mil command structure and going directly to midlevel mil and the main contractors and “negotiating” with twitter.

    Announcing a change in our bi-partasian Nuke policy on twitter and this AM he announced a new arms race on a tv show with people in pajamas.

    He’s a hot mess.

    Watch some rubes get duped into thinking the planned F-35 per unit cost reductions (check the internet) are the fruit of trump’s “negotiating”.

    He’ll also start up F18 super hornet production too. More $$ to the Mil.

    les Reply:

    Putin’s going to be sorry he sabotaged Hillary after Trumps done stirring the nest. Maybe we can base missiles on HSR cars. Denver to SF to Vegas would be a hell of a system.

    les Reply:

    Trump’s idea of infastructure planning:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RT-23_Molodets

    Wells Reply:

    Orange hair man plan is WWIII. War is the means by which the powerful conduct population control.
    Orange hair man will make WWIII the best; by best he means the most slaughter.
    Orange-hair man is fulfilling his campaign promise to clean out the swamp of disposable humanity.

    Roland Reply:

    Please text BAY to 741741

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    By your logic, we should all be paranoid preppers and move to a bunker in Nunavut. As much as I despise Trump and as unpredictable as he is, lets show the world that we’re better and smarter than the paranoid conservatives in 2008.

    Aarond Reply:

    Watch, during his inaugural address he’ll announce that Lockmart dropped the unit price down to “just” $110 million. This whole feud is right out of his WWE playbook.

    Joe Reply:

    When does he tell China about the scripted act and how to follow along?
    WWE is planned. This isn’t.

    His staff, the scary ones, are trying to explain what he means but they have been contradicted in later tweets.

    Meanwhile PB mega-contractor continues to upset transit nerds.

    Neil Shea Reply:

    Who are these supposed Bernie Bros who jizz every time Trump tweets
    (Yay war! Yay Billionaires! Yay Kleptocracy!)

    Danny Reply:

    like the promise of 3M deportations, this was already the policy under Obama http://billmoyers.com/story/the-trillion-dollar-question-the-media-have-neglected-to-ask-presidential-candidates/

    zorro Reply:

    And the GOP/Republican Party line is: if President Obama is for it, We’re against it, if He deports 3M, Say He didn’t deport anybody, etc, etc, etc… All cause President Obama is hated by Southern Republicans(aka: Dixie-cup-crats), since President Obama is not pure White

    President Obama is better than Fuhrer tRump, if President Obama had been legally allowed to run for a 3rd term, President Obama would have had an Orange Mop to clean the floor with…

    Aarond Reply:

    I wouldn’t say so. Obama campaigned hard for Hilary (who had the same positions and message as him) yet look at the loss. The Dem platform no longer services blue collar people, so they flipped.

    Detroit’s bankruptcy was symbolic, and now Dems only got two chances left to fix themselves or the GOP will be in power for quite a while.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Define services.
    Do you mean pandering to the bigots who cling to their guns and god and whiteness and really haven’t ever been on the right side of history?

    Do you mean the people who are very well of in the grand scheme of things, but whine about immigrants and the far poorer workers in other countries?

    Do you mean the idiots who applaud an inarticulate blowhard’s description of Mexican immigrants as “rapists,” cheer for proposals to ban Muslims from entry into the United States, and laugh at mockery of women’s looks and a disabled reporter’s mannerisms are actually deserving of sympathy?

    You may have noticed that not white blue collar people aren’t going for Trump. You may have noticed that Trump’s policies aren’t economically beneficial for blue collar people. Trump-supporting blue collar people are irrationally angry because they’re bigots undeserving of our perpetual sympathy and catering and pandering.

    FYI Aarond, trying for the Rust Belt isn’t politically the best idea. We came closer to winning Arizona and Georgia and Texas (and NC and FL and…) than Ohio and Iowa. That should be our future. We should keep pressing in the same neoliberal direction we’re going.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Those “bigots” went off and fought Hitler and Tojo, or you would not be here today. They were on the right side of history then.
    The Democratic Party signed on to the Clinton/Blair bullshit of free trade prosperity which turned out to be a sham. That’s what turned the industrial belt against the dems, that and a weak candidate. The dems need to develop an industrial policy that keeps the industry here and provides at least some jobs, certainly more than “let China build it and if you’re really lucky you might get a job unloading the containers.”

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Those bigots aren’t the people I’m necessarily referring to.
    Clinton/Blairism has been the best economic policy of all time. We are overall much, much richer, with the biggest gains going to the global poor. Read the economist some time. America is not suffering unemployment or poverty. We should not be protectionist and try and keep non-existent industrial jobs here, because China hasn’t “stolen” them. Even if they had, we should compete because American workers are no more entitled to a good job than Chinese ones. Remember that 97% of Americans are in the richest 20% of people in the world. Think globally, not nationally–nationality is obsolete.

    Jerry Reply:

    “and a weak candidate.”
    It should read: “a very, very, weak candidate.”

    Jerry Reply:

    In the states that counted, more people disliked her than those who disliked him.
    Over a multitude of issues.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Irrational dislike, you mean. Stupid post truth politics. Hillary is terrific. Besides, in all the states combined, which should be what matters, people preferred Clinton to Trump.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Irrational dislike”
    Trump ran an irrational campaign. With the support of an irrational media. It’s now news/entertainment. Even David Letterman said no one wanted the circus to leave town.
    Even Trump said later that Hillary is terrific. But her campaign had to consider 84 slogans before they could come up with, “Together, whatever? And his was the simplistic, “Make America Great Again.” And she spent millions to come up with her slogan, and he spent nada.
    It’s always nice to think globally (“which should be what matters”), but ALL politics is local.
    It’s apparent that she could not “energize” her base.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Stealing campaign slogans from Saint Ronnie is low cost. Campaign speeches from Tricky Dick and Michele Obama is low cost too.

    Jerry Reply:

    They stole “Dog Whistles” from Saint Ronnie also.
    Remember, Ronnie launched his campaign in Philadelphia. No, not the one you’re thinking of.
    The one in Mississippi. The one where civil rights workers were murdered.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    Car free – Clinton/Blair free trade turned out to be a one way street, they didn’t consider that a lot of players would not stick to the rule book.
    The Chinese have a huge domestic market, they should be supplying their own people, not be on a ridiculous 16th century mercantilist quest.
    American workers are just as entitled to a good job as Chinese.
    Overall it makes sense to produce goods close to market than transport them half way round the globe, polluting the air and the oceans with low grade bunker fuel.
    This past election was Clinton’s to lose and she screwed it up. No more dynasties, no more entitled candidates.
    And btw I’ve been reading the Economist since about 1965, my history teacher use to leave it in the classroom.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    @Jerry
    I happened to like Stronger Together. It really spoke to me about the evils of Identity politics, nationalism, etc.

    @Paul Dyson. Certainly Americans deserve good jobs. So do the Chinese and Bangladeshis and Peruvians and Syrians. Free trade levels the playing field. It allows everybody to be competing in the same marketplace because arbitrary borders and nationalities and citizenships shouldn’t matter. And FYI, the average Chinese person is still significantly poorer than the average American. Also FYI The news that US household income grew by 5.2 percent in 2015, after years of post-crisis sluggishness. That was the largest single-year rise since records began in the 1960s.
    Finally, you may be familiar with the famous “elephant curve”, which was thought to show that global growth had mostly passed the West’s working- and middle-classes by between 1988 and 2008. It turns out that the seeming lack of growth is an artefact of population shrinkage in Japan and post-Soviet states. If you remove them from the data, income for all groups has risen very healthily across the Western world, which goes to show that EVERY SINGLE global income demographic has seen its wealth increase SIGNIFICANTLY, while at the same time prices have plummeted for most things. We are way richer than ever before since 1988, which is about the start of neoliberalism. Thanks Clinton.

    Jerry Reply:

    $1 Trillion Dollar$.
    “The expenditure is for a 30-year program to “modernize” the US nuclear arsenal and production facilities.”
    OK
    My ongoing agony and question is:
    What is the 30-year program to “modernize” the US rail infrastructure? ?
    Or any other part of the infrastructure? ??

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Or we could always get rid of nukes, but that would make too much sense.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    That number is truly massive. We could build Amtrak’s rediculous NEC plan, finish all of CAHSR fast, and built 220 MPH HSR in a dozen other corridors and still have money left over to cut taxes and reduce debt.

    Jerry Reply:

    OK
    Just move everything “Off Budget.”
    Who knows? Who cares?
    What’s a little voodoo economics here and there?
    People, they ALL do it.
    Just spend another few million to study the problem.

  38. les
    Dec 23rd, 2016 at 02:18
    #38
  39. les
    Dec 23rd, 2016 at 09:08
    #39

    Nimbyism gone wrong:
    http://www.star-telegram.com/news/traffic/your-commute/article122244079.html

    Jerry Reply:

    “Texas Central officials said they were disappointed with the ruling, but pointed out that it merely sets the stage for a trialon the issue beginning July 3.
    “The decision does not set any kind of precedent, and we will show in a full trial that state law, established for more than a century, clearly gives railroad companies the right to conduct land surveys without interference,” Texas Central said in a statement. “This is needed to determine the most advantageous high-speed train route. We will demonstrate that in the trial and look forward to our day in court, scheduled July 3.”

    les Reply:

    Yea but July? Thats 7 months from now. For a system that was to be PNP its precedent is becoming nothing but ordinary.

  40. Roland
    Dec 23rd, 2016 at 14:39
    #40

    SamTrans have discovered that parking at Tamien during peak commute is no longer an option so they have rescheduled the 2017 Proposed Service Changes at Tamien to SATURDAY, January 7, 2017 10 am – Noon: http://www.caltrain.com/about/Public_Meetings_Calendar/San_Mateo_4633.html

    Staff are expected to report at the February Board meeting that there is no ridership at Tamien on Saturdays and that the shuttle should be terminated because it is actually possible to park at Diridon on Saturdays (and parking gets jacked up to $20 on Saturdays if there is an event at the SAP Arena!).

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