CHSRA Fires Back At Latest Flawed LA Times Article

Jan 17th, 2017 | Posted by

Dan Richard and Jeff Morales, chair and CEO of the California High Speed Rail Authority, fired back in an open letter to the Legislature against what they describe as a “fundamentally misleading” article by Ralph Vartabedian in the LA Times that implied the high speed rail project faced massive cost overruns:

First, with regard to cost, the article ignores the fact that the original grant funding was for basic civil construction and did not include stations, electrification, systems and other features necessary to achieve high-speed rail operations. These additional features — which are not overruns but necessary additions — are being funded with available state funding, as detailed in the plan approved by the Authority’s Board of Directors in December 2016. That plan provides extensive details, estimating the cost at $7.8 billion, not $9.5 or $10 billion; further, the $7.8 billion includes $900 million in contingencies to cover increases.

As has been detailed in the Authority’s 2016 Business Plan, the capital costs for the program have decreased, not increased, something not reported in the article. While overall capital costs have declined, we also reported to the legislature risks to the schedule and costs associated with specific construction packages and we will continue to do so, with our next project update to be provided to the legislature in March 2017.

The letter goes on to debunk more of Vartabedian’s article, including pointing out that the FRA says California is “on track” to spend the stimulus funding by September 30.

The letter makes it clear that once again, Vartabedian wrote a biased article that did not provide his readers with a full picture of what is actually going on with the high speed rail project or the FRA’s review.

  1. Roland
    Jan 17th, 2017 at 22:45
    #1

    Here is today’s LA Times response to the CHSRA’s open letter to the legislature:
    http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-bullet-train-react-20170116-story.html

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/eqtlNpSlKgQ Case closed(?)

    Sierrajeff Reply:

    The comments on this LA Times “response” (actually, just another slanted, and self-defensive, article from Vartabedian) are incredibly depressing… Trumpian logic, taking Vartabedian’s word as gospel and immediately decrying Democratic “corruption” and “cronyism”.

    I get why people in the Midwest or on the East Coast like to mock California, but it’s unfathomable to me how people who actually live here – who have first-hand information about how our state budget’s been balanced and our economy rebounded – can so blithely continue with the reactionary alt-right sentiments.

    Roland Reply:

    Right again (100% perfect score): http://www.cahsrblog.com/2017/01/chsra-fires-back-at-latest-flawed-la-times-article/#comment-301867

    Danny Reply:

    pretty sure LAT commenters are all either in OC or the Valley

  2. Roland
    Jan 17th, 2017 at 23:14
    #2

    Breaking News: San Jose to Merced funding status is downgraded from “fully-funded” to “fully fundable”.

    Travis D Reply:

    You misuse “Breaking News” worse than CNN.

    Roland Reply:

    Breaking News: Travis D pays a visit to a taxidermist on his own behalf.

  3. Jerry
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 00:14
    #3

    A Reason Foundation director has praised higher speed rail in Florida and compared it to that of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation.
    “Though developed as a government corporation, it has been run as
    a business and makes an annual profit,” Poole said of the Hong Kong system.

    http://malled.blog.palmbeachpost.com/2016/12/30/rail-expert-brightline-passenger-train-likely-to-succeed/

    les Reply:

    The only reason the Reason Foundation would praise it is because it is supported by a republican governor and his cronyism, a governor who has made his fortunes off milking the state. He is just another puppet of the Koch establishment.

    Brian_FL Reply:

    Um… no. Gov Scott does not oppose AAF, but to say he supports it is a mis-statement. Scott is a typical politician and will oppose it if it suits his needs. He has praised it only in that it is not asking for direct government funding. Trust me, from what I have heard, AAF does not have an inside track to get easy approval of everything they desire.

    Just this week 4 Republican state legislators from the Treasure Coast region are supporting a bill to force AAF to pay for grade crossing improvements and maintenance required for higher speed trains. NIMBYS rule there. Hopefully it will not see the light of day in Tallahassee.

    http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/bill-would-make-aafs-rail-service-pay-safety-upgrades

    Jerry Reply:

    Ongoing problem. Who pays for improvements of at-grade crossings?

    Edward Reply:

    Usually it is split between the railroad, local entity (city or county), state and federal funds.

  4. Jerry
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 00:33
    #4

    The ‘confidential’ FRA report did simply say:
    “More construction needs to start.”
    I believe that every person in favor of HSR has said the same thing.
    At today’s Board meeting I hope a Board member says the same thing.

    Jerry Reply:

    Time does seem to be of the essence in all of this, but I never get the feel of urgency from the Board or from the Governor. No one wants to say, “Hurry Up.”
    Lyndon Johnson’s written margin comment on an Amtrak NEC project to one of his aides was, “Get off of your ass on this.”
    We’re getting into spring time and summer month work activity and there should be several miles completed in CP2 and CP3. But they are still designing. And trying to buy up parcels.

    les Reply:

    Feds need a new law that allows property needed under eminent domain to be taxed higher. This would make their property a hot potato and incentivize property owners to sell faster.

    Webster Reply:

    …but that would still constitute a “Regulatory Takings,” and wouldn’t alleviate the main point of contention: property owners challenging whether 1) the Takings is for Public rather than Private benefit and 2) whether the Takings is necessary for the project to move forward (e.g. there are no alternatives – see: Santa Clarita, S.R. 14, and Angeles National Forest).

    This is the same issue TXCentral is facing and why the framing of this being institutional incompetence/mismanagement (i.e. private better than public sector) silly: it’s akin to Lucy, her football, and Charlie’s Brown.

    That is, the main problem isn’t the mechanism for condemning land, but the objection over whether the condemnation/Takings is even necessary/legitimate.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    TXCentral is a different issue. That issue is if a private company should be able to take land for private use using a law normally reserved for the government. It has interesting ramifications. I personally think that Kelo was a horrible decision, but it was the decision. Getting it enforced at the state level takes time.

    in CAHSR, there is no such conflict. The land is private and being moved to a public use by a public entity. The only thing stopping them is management and money. And technically they have the money which leaves only management.

    Honestly, who thinks that ROW acquisition has gone well with CAHSR, besides joe and his blind adoration?

    les Reply:

    Isn’t the State Public Works Board responsible for ROW acquisitions and not the CAHSR?

    les Reply:

    If there was a failed mission to Mars you would blame it on the Authority.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    they are using the CalTrans process, but the management of that process is by consultants at CAHSR.

    The bottleneck is not the courts or process, the bottleneck is the management which they farmed out.

    Jerry Reply:

    Someone I’m sure has a reference to the Authority’s contract and the selection of the company employing the consultants who are responsible.
    Anyone out there with more information? ?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The information you are looking for is in the March 18th, 2016 Board meeting

    Link to Powerpoint

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2016/brdmtg_030816_ROW_Update_for_Board_Final_4.pdf

    Link to RFP

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2016/brdmtg_030816_Item6_ATTACHMENT_RFP_for_ROW_Services.pdf

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks. I’ll have something to read.

    les Reply:

    Just look at the boards minutes and one can see it oozes of a tortoise like nature.
    Some months only 1 meeting to approve site selections.

    http://www.spwb.ca.gov/Minutes/2016/documents/09_09_16.pdf

    les Reply:

    Now please explain to me again how this is CAHSR’s doing?

    Jerry Reply:

    Excellent posting of the California State Public Works Board meeting minutes.
    Due Process at work.
    Would it help if they would meet more often?
    Is there any indication that they are the bottleneck?
    Are they the last step in the process? And next the court?
    Clearly the CAHSR Authority is not in a position to change the process. It seems to be out of their hands.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    as shown in the operations report there is only a fraction that go to that board

    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/brdmeetings/2017/brdmtg_011817_FA_Operations_Report.pdf

    pg 14, 20, 26, and 32. Specifically 163 parcels to date on a total of 1610 parcels required or right at 10%

    If you care to look at the operations report you will see the pipline for each parcel in the process. Notice on page 25 for example that only 1/2 the parcels are in negotiation for CP2/3

    Simply put, if you know eminate domain is going to take a long time, you need to get them into that pipeline as fast as possible. And since that represents about 10% so far, why are the other other 90% not moving??

    Its the ROW acquisition management, in this case consultants who have no vested interest in going fast.

    les Reply:

    John N: “only a fraction that go to that board”. It only takes a fraction of the pieces needed for a priority component to halt the construction of the component in its tracks.

    Joe Reply:

    Is Land aquistion for cp2/3 on critical path?
    Les makes a good point about what’s needed to build long stretches of the alignment but let’s stick to the “In Real Life” facts.

    The top priority is to start structure construction. This was in the risk report someone trolled but didn’t understand apparently.

    Structures are high cost (spend ARRA money), long time to complete tasks. Structures don’t require large amounts of land acquisition. Counting parcels now is doing it wrong. Trying to acquire long stretches of contiguous land is doing it wrong. Buying land for packages still under design and many move is doing it wrong.

    Obsessing about land aquistion raw numbers in absence of meeting critical objectives isn’t project management.

    Structures, structures & structures.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Pick a narrative.

    Either ROW matters, and a few parcels are holding them back.

    or

    ROW does not matter and they are doing fine.

    It can not be both.

    In actuallity it is the 2nd, they are not meeting critical objectives. The SPI as calculated by the authority, is in the “red” for all 3 active projects. That is a FACT

    The excuse given by the authority is ROW acquisition. That is a FACT.

    In the operations and performance reports each month they mention ROW acquisition and how they are trying to do better.

    joe Reply:

    I don’t have a narrative.

    CHSR needs to spend ARRA money and work on long duration tasks. Structure construction takes time and is costly — they are high priority. Not sole priority.

    They need to prioritize tasks on critical path. They need to work tasks that are near a critical path to prevent future delay. Land needed for building structures matters.

    I see you harping on land acquisition raw numbers and have never wavered on my criticism of your simplistic understanding.

    Schedule Performance Index isn’t critical path.
    The project should not work equally on all construction packages. They need to adapt to toay’s conditions.

    FRA’s candid (confidential report) states CHSR can effectively spend all ARRA money on time with good value.

    You are lost in the trivia.

    Joe Reply:

    You misunderstand.

    TX Central is certainly allowed to take property with eminent domain power provided it is a rail road.

    The issue is their status. Opponents say they are not railroad company. No one argues a private entity cannot take property.

    The trial that will begin July 3 will focus on whether the Texas Central Railroad meets the state’s requirements as an official railway company with the power to survey private land and then obtain it through Texas eminent domain laws.

    Jerry Reply:

    True. And the court systems throughout the USA have become unbearably slow.
    Trial in July. Why not April?
    Trial in July. Decision in whenever.
    Appeals to follow.
    Appeal trial to begin in 2018.

    Jerry Reply:

    High Speed Rail?
    Maybe High Speed Courts first.

    Jerry Reply:

    If the slow slow chug chug chug courts are the slowdown obstacle how can anyone blame HSR in Texas, California, or wherever?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    the “is it a railroad” is just a means to an end. The real issue is that they are private. Not that they would like it being public any better.

    Think about it. They say they are a railroad so they can buy land to build a railroad. Per the platiffs, they cant buy the land because they are not a railroad. So under that logic there can never be a new railroad because they cant buy land. Its stupid

    Their actual problem is they are NIMBYs that dont benefit from the railroad (per their logic) so they are just grasping at straws.

    Jerry Reply:

    If you don’t eat your meat,
    you can’t have any pudding!
    How can you have your pudding,
    if you don’t eat your meat? !

    Jerry Reply:

    “And technically they have the money which leaves only management.”
    :-)

    Webster Reply:

    …and the standing of property owners to openly dispute the condemnation (i.e. file suit), which is precisely what TXCentral is in for; the question over their legal status as a “Railroad” being a separate issue from that made above.

    Jerry Reply:

    The ‘problem’ is everywhere.
    US Senator opposes Amtrak plan for speedy new train route:
    http://www.courant.com/news/connecticut/hc-blumenthal-amtrak-0714-20160713-story.html

    Jerry Reply:

    Was it Geronimo, Sitting Bull, or Crazy Horse who said:
    “Damn. Why didn’t we think of this eminent domain stuff?”

    Webster Reply:

    The open hostility of municipalities between Dallas/Houston says otherwise…

    I don’t know exactly what management is supposed to do about property owners challenging condemnation/Takings: order Hits on them?

    Genuinely confused, here…

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    – anticipate and schedule for it

    – Do a bit of human engineering and sweet talk them

    – Up the offer because money talks

    – Offer a 10% bonus if they dont take them to court

    There is a lot they can do. Those owners have the right to trial, but they dont have to take that route. I imagine some greenmail money into the county budget would do wonders in greeseing the skids. How do you think the 1st railroad and every one since have been built?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    There are lots and lots of laws relating to takings. At least one of your suggestions is illegal.

    Joe Reply:

    John’s “Anticipate and schedule for it” suggestion is … well just wrong.

    These are risks and not unanticipated events. Risks are things that have not but could happen. You can’t schedule for things that are not realized.

    Project management is a discipline and doesn’t permit for scheduling risks.

    They can follow CHSR’s risk based management approach which identifies risk, carries reserve, manages risk and mitigates risk.
    I just do NOT see that he is capable of grocking this part of management.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    now you are a strict interpetationalist of the law? Where is that attitude when it comes to prop 1a?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    really, you dont schedule for risk.

    So what if, before the project started, i knew that every parcel that goes to eminate domain takes 3 times longer to aquire and costs 1.2X because of staffing needs.

    I would arrange my schedule and work so that those parcels (owners) would be identified immediatly so they would be put into the process sonner than the other so…and hold on to this….the SCHEDULE would not be impacted.

    What would you call that???

    StevieB Reply:

    @John Nachtigall

    Where do you get your crystal ball that tells you which parcels will go to eminent domain hearings?

    Joe Reply:

    First you want to over budget so you don’t go over budget. You can’t do that. No one gives you that excess money and time.

    Second if you knew a task would take x hours and you have y staff then the math would work out and no need to pad. You don’t have a risk in this case – it’s a known and/or happened.

    Realistically you have a hiring plan or probably are dependent on a entity to hire staff for your project (resources) and they are the ones who supply the labor cost estimate and staffing timeline — they can’t execute so you have to mitigate. I’ve been there.

    For schedule, you would assess critical path and put resources there (buy critical path parcels) and you’d also assess cost to assure you are also doing high cost things to bill the Feds. CHSR is doing this. Then you look for work changes to improve schedule – repurpose staff or review processes and look for savings or slam (Add resources).

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Why aren’t you? I wasn’t the one suggesting doing something the state cannot do.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What’s that joe, an admission that it is at least possible that the staff did not execute? I thought they were victims of circumstance alone?

    The authority does have the power to hire staff. In March they added more money to this pool.

    People using emanate domain is a known occurrence not an unknown risk and they know that takes longer

    And it is quite easy to identify those parcels, you ask the owners. The ones who cuss you out you skip to the front of the line

    But the reality is that emminate domain is 10% of the parcels. They just don’t process the parcels fast enough. Look at the PowerPoint I posted. They admitted they made mistakes. Everyone, including the authority and the FRA, knows they are not buying ROW at a proper rate

    Joe Reply:

    Stop the bait and switch

    Bait: You called them incompetent – I defended HSR.

    Switch: Now your claiming I’ve argued they don’t make mistakes.

    And your argument HSR should prioritize parcels is exactly what I tell you they should be doing and not execute on old plans and maximize raw numbers of parcels. That’s why I don’t look at raw parcel numbers.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    What? First of all that is no bait and swtich and 2nd you have argued many times they are victims of citcumstance and not their own failings. You did it in this thread.

    But whatever. We agree joe, they have execution problems and that is effecting the project. We disagree on the severity of both the problems and the effect, but agree they both exist

    Super…common ground.

    joe Reply:

    CHSR management is not incompetent. You started that argument and abandoned it.

    We don’t agree. Not even close. Your argument “they have execution problems” is a gimmick.

    I am impressed with CHSR’s management. They have a path to spending every dime of Fed money n the project and with good value. This with all the political and legal attacks while building America’s first HSR project.

    Jerry Reply:

    I’m really impressed with everything, everything, that they have to put up with.
    I’m still looking for a list of the total number of all of the municipalities the HSR goes through. And each one demanding something.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I didn’t abandoned anything. They are incompetent and the data shows such. That is what lack of execution is, not competent.

    Projects are judged on 3 factors, time, schedule, and quality. Generally you can maximize 2 of the 3. They are over budget, over time, and the quality is TBD. So already they are 0 for 2 with 1 factor unknown until the railroad starts running

    Edward Reply:

    I don’t know about Texas, but in California there have been ads by lawyers saying, “Get everything that is yours. Contact XYZ attorneys. Don’t accept what the state offers.”

    StevieB Reply:

    In Bakersfield Eminent Domain attorneys write opinion pieces. California’s High Speed Rail project conjures emotions from the past. The attorney makes an emotional comparison to the history of the west, “The wholesale slaying of herds of buffalo was yet another casualty”.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Eminent Domain attorney does admit:
    “The Transcontinental Railroad was ultimately a good thing for the United States — linking the East with the West and expanding the landscape of our nation. The California High Speed Rail Project has the potential to be equally beneficial in the long run by creating another transportation option between our northern and southern population centers and tying the Valley to the rest of the state.”
    But the trains didn’t slay the buffalo. But that’s another story.

    Jerry Reply:

    At one time the Bar Association said it was unethical and against their rules for attorneys to advertise.
    Then the interpretation of the ethics changed along with their rules. Now attorneys advertise for everything.

    Jerry Reply:

    Interest 1977 US Supreme Court case which lifted the ban on attorneys advertising:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bates_v._State_Bar_of_Arizona

    Joe Reply:

    TXCentral is a different issue. That issue is if a private company should be able to take land for private use using a law normally reserved for the government.

    Honestly, who thinks that ROW acquisition has gone well with CAHSR, besides joe and his blind adoration.

    1. Texas gives private companies like rail roads eminent domain power. It’s no different/less than public power. Texas Central’s status as a rail company is being litigated, not the private authority to acquire land.

    2. Troll refuses to acknowledge HSR property acquisition was delayed and even completed appraisals expired and had to be reworked.

    Texas Central could have verified they had standing as a rail operator. This was a risk. The lawsuit is an outcome of their assumptions. At least CHSR had the State Legislature and AG’s blessing and won their lawsuit. Texas Central has no such prior determination.

    Roland Reply:

    “The only thing stopping them is management and money. And technically they have the money which leaves only management.”

    The problem is actually more fundamental than what you think and it looks like the only way to get them to hit the pause button is to temporarily suspend funding followed by an external (private sector) engineering audit of the mess they started in the CV, starting with route planning.

    les Reply:

    And here I thought Syno had hit the pause button.

    Roland Reply:

    What happened to Syno???

    les Reply:

    i don’t know but this seems like something he would chime in on.

    Danny Reply:

    since “regulatory takings” is literally Catch-22, perhaps we can build a case that letting TXHSR get held up is a taking, especially since it’s station-adjacent property values from surging or whatever

    Anandakos Reply:

    Nobody ever objects to “takings” for freeways. Maybe we should just run a freeway through Cliven Bundy’s house. That would solve the problem.

    Roland Reply:

    Nobody ever objects to high speed lines designed to use freeways for noise mitigation.

  5. les
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 07:43
    #5

    Amtrak Cascades has finally gotten the kink taken out of the Seattle-Portland line. Testing of the new Siemens trains should commence by this summer.

    http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/12295901/look-out-for-fast-trains-as-point-defiance-bypass-tests-begin

    Jerry Reply:

    Certainly good news.
    And officials are advising people to not stop their vehicles on the tracks.

    les Reply:

    Old habits die hard.

    Maybe this will help:
    http://www.progressiverailroading.com/federal_legislation_regulation/news/FTA-proposes-rule-to-stop-trains-from-running-red-signals–50636

    Jerry Reply:

    Thank you.
    Just what we have been waiting for. NEW rules. For what??
    To tell people that a RED light means STOP.

    Jerry Reply:

    (As a side comment, I was waiting for a Capitol Corridor train and it blew past the stop. Had to backup to pick up passengers. I asked the conductor what happened. He said the engineer forgot the stop.)

    EJ Reply:

    Read the article.

    Jerry Reply:

    “The FTA’s directive requires the agencies to use its Safety Management Systems (SMS) to identify, evaluate and help avoid or reduce the frequency and severity of consequences of stop signal overrun.”

    Jerry Reply:

    Chatsworth engineer texting, runs red light, many die.
    Agencies must use SMS to identify problem.
    Help them evaluate problem of running red lights, the frequency of running red lights, and how to avoid running red lights, and what the consequences might be.

    Jerry Reply:

    I read the article.

    Anandakos Reply:

    This new rule — a good one — doesn’t have anything to do with motorists stopping their CARS on the tracks at grade crossings. They’re going to have four-quadrant gates at the crossings which are quite close two the freeway at two interchanges. It’s not frequent but not rare either that traffic exiting the freeway to the right backs up at the first red light or traffic from the north side attempting to enter the northbound freeway backs up across the bridge to the southbound side.

    There are going to be some close calls until people learn to abide by the gates.

  6. les
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 07:48
    #6

    The latest in European tunneling is now in the states: “It chews out a section of the tunnel, and then the area around it is injected with a concrete product called Shotcrete.”

    http://www.king5.com/news/local/bellevue/bellevue-gets-new-tunneling-machine-for-sound-transit-project/386856590

    agb5 Reply:

    Nothing new there, that is standard mining equipment, it would only work in soils which a stable enough to be self supporting during the operation, which was probably not the case with the Bertha tunnel which drilled through wet sand and old landfill.

    les Reply:

    New for the states: “They are said to be the first of their kind in North America”

    randyw Reply:

    It is a Roadheader. Been used in the states for 50 years. Standard for wine caves in Napa/ Sonoma.

    Roland Reply:

    Projects utilizing roadheaders:
    Boston’s Big Dig
    Ground Zero Cleanup
    Addison Airport Tunnel Project
    Fourth bore of Caldecott Tunnel

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roadheader#Projects_utilizing_roadheaders

    Roland Reply:

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

    Technical innovations, value engineering and integrated observational techniques led to estimated savings of $14 million on the North Downs Tunnel, a 3.2-km high-speed rail tunnel on Section 1 of the U.K.’s Channel Tunnel Rail Line. It is the only tunnel in the route to be built with New Austrian Tunneling Methods (NATM). It cross chalk beds up to 100 m. below the ground.

    Construction is five months ahead of schedule and substantially under budget.
    https://trid.trb.org/view.aspx?id=644565

    Stupid Brits!!!!

  7. Wells
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 10:40
    #7

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnRSIQO9LZ0

    Honolulu HART is moving right along….

  8. Jerry
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 13:54
    #8

    The 60 mile open field CP2-3 had Original Contract Days of 1,025.
    The CA HSR Authority today reported 341 Work Days Spent on CP2-3.
    Only 634 more Work Days to go.
    Meanwhile, the contractor(s), Dragados, Flatiron West, combined with Jacob’s Engineering and Seger Engineering Systems (DFJV) have received 23 Properties in November.
    They are still working very diligently on the design (s).

    Jerry Reply:

    PS. Design work has started for the electrification of CalTrain and they do NOT have all the money for the project.
    Can the design work start on the WYE????

    Joe Reply:

    FWIW. Not all property can be acquired until the contractor’s design is worked out. The contractors have latitude enough to shift an alignment of it can save cost. That shift can alter acquisition.

    Also add work to CP1. The 2016 plan is building N to Merced and this new work was added to the existing CP1 contract. Watch John. He’s sloppy and could call it a budget overrun.

    Jerry Reply:

    I understand. I suppose I’m always asking too much. I am naive. Or ignorant on a lot of matters.
    But. I have seen designs of things such as houses and buildings being made before anyone knew where they would be constructed. CAD programs can alter many things quickly.
    A house can be designed for a large foundation or even a slab.

  9. Eric M
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 17:27
    #9

    High-Speed Rail Authority and County of Kern Reach Settlement Agreement (PDF)

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) today announced that it has reached a settlement agreement with the County of Kern, which will result in the dismissal of California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation over the Final Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS) for the Fresno to Bakersfield project section of the high-speed rail program. This agreement demonstrates the commitment between both parties to work together to bring high-speed rail service to the region along with small business opportunities and jobs for Central Valley residents.

    “This agreement represents our continued commitment to working with all of our partners across the state to resolve issues that allow us to move the program forward,” said Authority CEO Jeff Morales.

    The Authority and County will work together to engage the public and affected stakeholders to move the program forward.

    With more than 119 miles of active construction in the Central Valley, construction of a high-speed rail line between the Silicon Valley and Central Valley is planned to be complete by 2024, with passenger service beginning in 2025.

  10. Eric M
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 17:42
    #10

    One lawsuit down, but high-speed rail still faces five more cases

    A lawsuit filed in 2014 by Kern County against the California High-Speed Rail Authority will be dismissed under the terms of a settlement announced Wednesday afternoon by the state agency.

    But four more CEQA lawsuits are still pending, filed by Kings County, the First Free Will Baptist Church of Bakersfield, Dignity Health, and the city of Shafter. And just last month, Kings County, local farmer John Tos, two Bay Area residents and several organizations sued the rail authority over the business financing plan it adopted to begin using money from Proposition 1A – a $9.9 billion high-speed rail bond measure approved by California voters in 2008 – for construction on the rail project.

    Anandakos Reply:

    What standing does some hayseed in Kings County have to sue the state over a business financing plan? It’s insane.

  11. Jerry
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 19:49
    #11

    The CAHSR Authority has reported the obvious use of the Central Valley segment:
    “Once the high-speed rail infrastructure is completed and if it is available for an extended period of time beyond testing of high-speed trains, the Authority will explore options for how best to put the infrastructure into service. One such option would be to transfer the San Joaquin service from the existing BNSF line to run on that new infrastructure. The newly built line would allow for faster speeds, decreasing the end to end run time by as much as 45 minutes. Faster service would improve the attractiveness of the service, increasing both ridership and operating revenue. The additional revenue that this could generate would reduce the amount of needed operating subsidy by Caltrans.”

    Jerry Reply:

    Keep your options open.

    Jerry Reply:

    ” We understand that passenger rail service provided by San Joaquins will not result in any unreimbursed operating or maintenance cost to the Authority.”
    San Joaquins on the new Central Valley HSR ROW.
    Is this new news or old news?

    Jerry Reply:

    The reports are identified here:

    High-Speed Rail Submits Central Valley Segment and San Francisco to San Jose Peninsula Corridor Funding Plans

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. – The California High-Speed Rail Authority has submitted its Central Valley Segment Funding Plan, San Francisco to San Jose Peninsula Corridor Funding Plan, and corresponding Independent Consultant Reports to the Department of Finance and the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. You can read the cover letter, plan and report sent to Department of Finance and/or the Joint Legislative Budget Committee by clicking the links.

    Which is available on the first page of the CAHSRA web site:
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/

    agb5 Reply:

    The HSR tracks will not have a traditional signaling system, and the San Joaquins trains won’t be upgraded to ETMS, so maybe the will need to limit the new track to one train at a time.

    William Reply:

    Some nitpick here: the signal system California HSR is likely to use will be a version of ETCS, or European Train Control System. The PTC that’s currently being installed on most of the US railroad is iETMS, which the train-side components already installed on all Caltrans owned rolling stocks, and should warrant faster than 79mph operations where the track condition allows.

    Roland Reply:

    “When trains enter or leave LGVs they pass over a ground loop that automatically switches the driver’s dashboard indicators to the appropriate signalling system. For example, a train leaving an LGV for a “ligne classique” has its TVM system deactivated and its traditional KVB “Contrôle de Vitesse par Balises” (beacon speed control) system enabled.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_France#Signalling
    https://youtu.be/wCeQuJBYlXM?t=900

    Stupid Frogs!!!

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Will the system in use in California be compatible with the one in use on the East Coast?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The freight railroads have decided on a standard. The handful of trains that travel from the east, west of I-35, will be able to use that.

    Roland Reply:

    Would you care to elaborate on “San Joaquins trains won’t be upgraded to ETMS”???

    Clem Reply:

    Substitute ERTMS and it makes sense

    Roland Reply:

    So we are all on the same page then? ERTMS on dedicated high speed lines, I-ETMS on “classic” lines (everywhere else) and an automatic switch back and forth or ???

    Clem Reply:

    I’d be in favor of that. CBOSS is still a mistake, a quarter billion dollars later (and counting)

    Roland Reply:

    JPB Responses to Issues raised by R. LeBrun on January 2, 2017.

    “The report referenced by R. LeBrun states that “…the electrification contractor has Alstom as its subcontractor for signaling equipment and interfaces. Alstom is also the main contractor for the CBOSS Project. The PFAL team believes that this is an appropriate mitigation for the risks involved.” Caltrain agrees that the safety risks identified will be mitigated by a subcontractor that is familiar with Caltrain’s existing signaling system.”

    “The PCEP has been engaged with the UPRR even prior to the issuance of a contract to discuss work on the signal system to eliminate design approval related delays.”

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Roland Reply:

    “the I-ITCS software is a unique system in the United States. The lowest bid for software was from I-ETMS, which is what the rest of the United States is using and why Metrolink is ready to go. He said Volume 3 of the Electrification RFP does not include the software I-ITCS; instead it has I-ETMS. He said General Electric dumped their signaling division to Alstom, and Alstom has no interest in making this software work. A year ago, a top signal engineer was working on this project, but he disappeared and this project got moved to LTK Engineering. He said there is $231 million into a system that will never work and will put safety on the line.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2015/2015-08-06+JPB+BOD+Minutes.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    SCAX: 99% (246/249 miles)
    PCJX: 0% (0/52 miles)
    https://www.fra.dot.gov/app/ptc/

    Any questions?

    Roland Reply:

    “I-ITCS software is a unique system in the United States. The lowest bid for software was from I-ETMS, which is what the rest of the United States is using and why Metrolink is ready to go. He said Volume 3 of the Electrification RFP does not include the software I-ITCS; instead it has I-ETMS. He said General Electric dumped their signaling division to Alstom, and Alstom has no interest in making this software work. A year ago, a top signal engineer was working on this project, but he disappeared and this project got moved to LTK Engineering. He said there is $231 million into a system that will never work and will put safety on the line.”

    Roland Reply:

    August 1, 2013
    “Ms. Harrington said there is a letter from Roland Lebrun with a series of questions and staff will respond to him in writing, but staff has no information that supports his statement that the project is not going to make the deadline. She said she wants to thank Mr. Lebrun for identifying a typo on the bottom of page two; it should say May instead of March.”

    “Roland Lebrun, San Jose, said the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) and the National Transit Safety Board (NTSB) have known for over six months that Caltrain cannot possibly meet the 2015 PTC implementation deadline. He said this was confirmed during the testimony to the Senate Transportation Committee on June 19. Mr. Lebrun said since we now know the deadline cannot be met there is an opportunity to hit the pause button. He said this would give time to hire an independent entity that can be trusted to provide the Board with unbiased advice, including how complete re-signaling could substantially improve the capacity of the line. He said this would have no impact on the budget because the Board has already approved $90 million in unspecified oversight activities. Mr. Lebrun said the other option is to approve the staff recommendation, but how can the Board rely on the advice of people who either don’t know what is going on or are not telling the truth.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2013/8-1-13+JPB+Minutes.pdf (page 4).

    September 5, 2013
    “Roland Lebrun, San Jose, said he submitted a letter to the Board on this project. He said Phase 1, specifically task 2, the PTC Development Plan, is not complete and was to be approved last year and was just submitted to the FRA at the end of May. He said the Executive Director should not have issued the Notice to Proceed for Phase 2, let alone Phase 3 because it would be unwise to start designing something the FRA might not approve. Mr. Lebrun said Senate Bill (SB) 1462 was introduced and this bill would extend the PTC implementation deadline to 2020. He finds it surprising that this bill is missing from staff’s legislative matrix.” http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2013/9-5-13+JPB+Minutes.pdf (page 5)

    “Mr. Murphy said a bill was introduced that would grant a blanket extension for the PTC deadline. The FRA’s position is there shouldn’t be a blanket extension, but year-to-year extensions granted when projects apply for them and only if they meet certain milestones. Staff doesn’t think there will be any resolution on this issue this year. None of these efforts to extend the deadline apply to JPB’s projects.”
    http://www.caltrain.com/Assets/__Agendas+and+Minutes/JPB/Board+of+Directors/Minutes/2013/9-5-13+JPB+Minutes.pdf (page 10)

    Anandakos Reply:

    If there’s no signaling system of any kind, the FRA will not allow operation at anything higher than 49 mph. If this is to work, the Amtrak locomotives will need the onboard signaling displays.

  12. Roland
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 23:23
    #12

    Yes, they really tweeted this: https://twitter.com/Caltrain/status/821893237157703680

    Jerry Reply:

    At least they weren’t stuck on an escalator.

    Danny Reply:

    another “fire station catches fire story”

    Roland Reply:

    Scanlon used to call them “twits” because he did not know how to spell “tweet”.

    The all-time best tweet was the one where the train lost power after hitting a car and they ended up tweeting the passengers asking them where the train was (and no, I am not making that one up either).

  13. morris brown
    Jan 18th, 2017 at 23:30
    #13

    Authority Chair Dan Richard at today’s (Jan 18 2017) board meeting reacts strongly

    At the Board meeting Richard gave 7 minutes of comments in an attempt to rebut recent articles in the LA Times, Fox and Hounds and other media. These comments can be viewed at:

    https://youtu.be/eqtlNpSlKgQ

    A text transcript can be viewed at:

    https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B9m407yyFerMME1QcTV0TmZYMWs

    Here he calls the media reports “Bunk”, a favorite term he often uses to describe statements with which he disagrees.

    Richard declares there is no validity with any of what has been written on conclusions, regarding the Dec 1 2016 report from the FRA. He declares you can’t learn anything of value from the media. No indeed, Richard claims, the only way to learn and get the truth is to watch and read what the Authority publishes.

    Some legislators are going to call for an audit of the Authority by the State Auditor. Will the Authority again, as last year, oppose such an audit and oversight, or will the Authority accept the only way to clear the air is to let an audit proceed?

    Such oversight and audit are clearly needed.

    Jerry Reply:

    Behead the messenger.

    Jerry Reply:

    Surprised he actually mentioned Fox and Hounds. And Joe Fox’s article.
    Which really didn’t amount to much. (You have written better articles.)
    But Joel Fox did ask the question:
    “Can the rail program be abandoned now that it has begun?”
    To which I have asked you, “What do you think????”

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I think yes

    Jerry Reply:

    I know Morris has difficulty speaking/answering for himself. Thanks for speaking up for him.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    i thought it was a question for everyone

    Jerry Reply:

    Morris is between a rock and a hard place.
    If his lawsuit prevails then no HSR money goes to CalTrain electrification.
    And then CA HSR has that much more money for Fresno to San Jose.
    Which both of you have said meets all Prop 1A requirements.

    Jerry Reply:

    PS Morris and all of PAMPA will still have the problems of housing and traffic in THEIR neighborhoods. Backed up traffic and accidents at their at-grade crossings. He never proposes or suggests any possible solutions.
    Wonder why??

    Jerry Reply:

    Morris, et.al , are part of the problem. And not part of any solution.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    I think that it would be stupid and wasteful to do so without investing in making the San Joaquin system run on the HSR track. However, I, of course, want to see the entire project finished.

    les Reply:

    “He declares you can’t learn anything of value from the media.” Morris you regularly substantiate the fact that there is some media you can’t learn anything from.

  14. Sierrajeff
    Jan 19th, 2017 at 10:31
    #14

    The comments on this LA Times “response” (actually, just another slanted, and self-defensive, article from Vartabedian) are incredibly depressing… Trumpian logic, taking Vartabedian’s word as gospel and immediately decrying Democratic “corruption” and “cronyism”.

    I get why people in the Midwest or on the East Coast like to mock California, but it’s unfathomable to me how people who actually live here – who have first-hand information about how our state budget’s been balanced and our economy rebounded – can so blithely continue with the reactionary alt-right sentiments.

    Aarond Reply:

    Trumpians will eat anything Trump says and tend to be more in favor of big infrastructure projects than their parents. Here in CA, the remaining Republicans are all old enough to have voted for Prop 187, which will be soon vindicated in DC. They’re hoping Trump will also nix HSR, even though the two previous Republican Presidents from here (Nixon and Reagan) did not.

    That said nobody knows what Trump will actually do once in office. His inaugural address could prove me entirely wrong.

  15. Roland
    Jan 19th, 2017 at 11:02
    #15

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration miscalculated costs for the state Medi-Cal program by $1.9 billion last year, an oversight that contributed to Brown’s projection of a deficit in the upcoming budget, officials acknowledged this week.

    Brown’s deficit projection was driven by more than just the accounting error, Palmer said, noting that California tax collections came in below expectations for most of the first half of the fiscal year.

    “It makes you wonder what else is not right. … When something like this happens, the trust factor gets eroded, and you lose confidence in what’s being provided to you,” said Sen. John Moorlach, a Republican from Costa Mesa who serves on the Senate budget committee.
    http://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/01/18/1-8-billion-error-adds-to-california-deficit-projection/

    Jerry Reply:

    Is that similar to the State Pension problem?

    zorro Reply:

    State Pensions = Contracts, since States can’t go Bankrupt, they must be honored, even if that means adding state money to them.

    Roland Reply:

    Sounds good to me. And the money for the choo-choo is coming from?

    Anandakos Reply:

    He would say that wouldn’t he, since he’s a Repugnant.

  16. Roland
    Jan 19th, 2017 at 12:25
    #16

    RIP, PB

    “Historically, the firm was involved in major projects including delivery of the first subway lines in New York City, the BART metro system in San Francisco; the start of the Los Angeles Metro, and management with Bechtel of the Big Dig Central Artery viaduct replacement underground in Boston, USA.

    Disappearance of the name Parsons Brinckerhoff in May 2017 and its confinement to historic record, will be the ending of a particular era in the world of civil and tunnel engineering.”

    “Particular” is probably the most polite way to describe their “achievements”.
    http://www.tunneltalk.com/Company-News-Jan2017-Parsons-Brinckerhoff-absorbed-into-WSP.php

    Jerry Reply:

    Their names will soon join Roebuck.

  17. StevieB
    Jan 19th, 2017 at 15:10
    #17

    TIMES’ BIG SCOOP ON CAHSR WAS OVERBLOWN COVERAGE OF A ROUTINE REPORT. By Damien Newton Jan 19, 2017 at STREETSBLOG CAL.

    So how about the damning critique Vartabedian outlines from the routine deliberative report draft? Turns out their are plenty of holes in the report as well.

    First claim : The project could cost $3.6 billion more than the budget announced to the public. $6.4 billion announced to $10 billion.

    The key word here is could. There are a lot of things that could increase the budget of the project. But at the moment, the budget for the project is $7.8 billion, not $6.4 billion. Why is that number higher than the $6.4 billion estimate? $900 million of the $1.4 billion difference is contingency funds should other parts of the project go over budget.

    Second claim : The California High-Speed Rail Authority originally anticipated completing the Central Valley track by this year, but the federal risk analysis estimates that that won’t happen until 2024, placing the project seven years behind schedule.

    This is true, but hardly news. The route for the Merced to Bakersfield wasn’t approved by the Board until last October. In fact, when the plan for the Initial Operating Segment was approved last year, the estimate for the opening date was 2025.

    Third claim : The Federal Railroad Administration is tracking the project because it has extended $3.5 billion in two grants to help build the Central Valley segment. The administration has an obligation to ensure that the state complies with the terms, including a requirement that the state has the funding to match the federal grants.

    This is true. This routine report is put together because the state received a federal grant. And good news, the Authority is on track to meet its goal, including the matching funds and the requirement that all funds be spent in the grant timeline. A statement released by the FRA, and quoted in the CAHSR article, clearly states, “Is California on track to spend the Recovery Act Funds at this moment? Yes. Will it? With continued focus and hard work, yes.”

    Fourth claim : Staff morale is low.

    I wonder why that is? Probably because the project is a political hot potato and is often pilloried in the local press, including the nation’s fourth largest newspaper?

    Vartabedian clearly has an ax to grind with the Authority. Roger Rudick, now editor of Streetsblog SF, wrote a scathing takedown of his coverage in 2014. Perhaps that explains the many pieces of good news left out of his article, news that is outlined in the Authority’s response. Or maybe it explains why much of the background for Vartabedian’s article is from anonymous sources, without any context for who is providing the information and why anonymity was granted.

    But the sad reality is that even though the Times’ article is sloppy and unprofessional, it could have negative consequences for the California High Speed Rail project. A hilariously terrible article by the Reason Foundation on the then newly-opened Phase I of the Expo Line, lamented that ridership for the completed Expo Line hadn’t reached it’s 30-year ridership projections–in its second week of being half-open. That terrible article was cited in private meetings between transit advocates and capitol hill staff about rail funding in Southern California.

    Jerry Reply:

    But Chicken Little said the sky is falling.

    Joe Reply:

    Maybe a few more voices speaking out can clue the Tribune editors that this reporting is dishonest and harms their reputation.

    Danny Reply:

    it’s “tronc” now–basically the puppy-mill approach, applied to journalists

    joe Reply:

    TRONC. I couldn’t wish a worse future for Ralph.

    TRONC is an attempt to make the Tribune newspapers evolve to video media to copy Facebook’s video traffic and revenue.

    You know that after two years Facebook then admitted they mis-stated their traffic from embedded video.

    Facebook Overestimated Key Video Metric for Two Years
    Social network miscalculated the average time users spent watching videos on its platform
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/facebook-overestimated-key-video-metric-for-two-years-1474586951

    Tribune bet the farm on TRONC.

    TRONC is feeding anti-HSR news to Briebart.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am missing the rebuttal part

    When you strip away the outrage and the posturing, he agreed with all 4 points.

    1. The report said it “could” go over budget and that is what was reported
    2. The program is late
    3. The FRA is tracking it
    4. The moral is low, or at least he makes no attempt to provide evidence otherwise

    And the 5ths further up in the article, the report was confidential

    So what is “misleading” if all the claims are factually true?

    joe Reply:

    Welcome to middle school debate.

    les Reply:

    you truly live in an alternative universe.

    StevieB Reply:

    The headlines from websites do not say “could” go over budget.
    Feds Predict Cost Overruns for Calif. Bullet Train. Courthouse News Service
    California High Speed Rail Faces 50 Percent Cost Overruns. Reason
    CA High-Speed Rail: Over Budget, Behind Schedule. Breitbart
    Train Wreck: California High-Speed Rail in Worse Shape Than Anyone Thought. PJ Media

    All cite the Los Ángeles Times Vartabedian article “California’s bullet train is hurtling toward a multibillion-dollar overrun, a confidential federal report warns” as evidence of definite cost overruns. The readers of these stories who only believe sources that tell them what they want to hear will spread the lies.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well I guess if you only read headlines that’s an issue.

    And I learned a lot in middle schools debate. One onpf the top rules, if you are going to contradict and argument, don’t agree with it

    Look at the rebuttal, he agreed with each point

    joe Reply:

    Shorter John: It’s not a lie if the headline is contradicted in the article.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The LA times headline is not a contradiction. It say “warns”. As in “not happened yet”.

    Again, it’s factually true.

    Your issue is that Ralph is not a cheerleader, but he is not lying in his reporting. And the rubuttal agrees his points are true. So your problem is just that he did not spin it positive. That’s your problem not Ralph

    StevieB Reply:

    @John Nachtigall
    I know you only read the headlines so I will tell you what Breitbart said, “The Times obtained the Federal Railroad Administration risk analysis report, which shows projected costs for just the first 118-mile Central Valley section of the “bullet train” will soar to 150 percent — $3.6 billion more, over a previous estimate.” No could from the text after the headline, “CA High-Speed Rail: Over Budget, Behind Schedule”.

    Reason text says, “In the latest bombshell, a confidential federal report points to cost overruns of at least 50 percent on the easiest, mountain-less leg of this complex infrastructure undertaking”. Reason takes the position the cost overruns are a certainty with no could involved.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I thought we were talking about Ralph and his bias. He can’t control Breitbart or Reason, who are unabashedly partisan sources who will spin the news, in this case conservative. Just like Vox, Slate and HuffPo spin liberal.

    The rebuttal was on Ralph’s article because apparently he is not supposed to report true facts because then Breitbart will spin them. ???

    How is the LA times article biased, Ralph only has control over Ralph.

  18. Roland
    Jan 19th, 2017 at 19:23
    #18

    And here we go again (thankfully there were no injuries in this one): https://twitter.com/Caltrain/status/822237042583240705 (this has not hit the news yet).

    Roland Reply:

    Caltrain clearly needs to get rid of all seats and toilets: https://twitter.com/Caltrain/status/822263422536425472

    “We are victims of our own success.” “We need a permanent dedicated funding source.” “Give us M-O-A-R Ma-ney!!!” http://www.caltrain.com/about/fiscalcrisis/fiscalcrisisFAQ.html?PageMode=Print

    Roland Reply:

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Caltrain-hits-car-on-tracks-in-Palo-Alto-causing-10870370.php

    Clem Reply:

    “Caltrain hits car in Palo Alto, causing grade separation”

    Roland Reply:

    It’s either that or the status quo, right?

    Jerry Reply:

    Palo Alto continues to cause at grade separations.
    No help in sight.

    Roland Reply:

    Translation (preferably in English), please?

    Joe Reply:

    That packed Millbrae train is carrying bike cargo, for free. The Caltrain advisory board is like a nimby club. They want to protect the 1990’s amenities once need to attract riders.

    Roland Reply:

    Breaking News: Following a multi-year multi-disciplinary investigation carried out by an international team of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) at a cost in excess of $5M, SamTrans today officially released a 500-page report containing irrefutable evidence that “Caltrain’s” Bikes-on-Board policies were responsible for a series of events that eventually resulted in a train colliding with a car at a grade crossing in Palo Alto.

    Jeff Carter Reply:

    Breaking News: “Town of Atherton reports that quad gates/quiet zones would have prevented the collision.”

    Joe Reply:

    Every eight bikes takes the space of one toilet with hand sink.

    Roland Reply:

    Sooooooooooooooooo…………………………. We should keep the sinks and trash the toilets?

    Roland Reply:

    Meanwhile in the UK: https://www.southeasternrailway.co.uk/help-and-contact/help/delay-repay-compensation. Stupid Brits!!!

    Roland Reply:

    SamTrans Pravda in action: https://twitter.com/Caltrain/status/822293964547993600

    Roland Reply:

    San Mateo County Sheriff’s response: “Caltrain charges or citations are decided on a case by case basis. This will not be decided until investigation is done. Thx”.

  19. Roland
    Jan 19th, 2017 at 23:05
    #19

    Warm Springs update:

    “Molly McArthur, a spokeswoman for the extension project, said that disintegrating power lines around the station have caused a work stoppage, as BART tries to figure out how to power the trains.

    “I wish I could say that I had a crystal ball and could guarantee when we will be done, but I don’t,” McArthur told the paper. “You can’t run trains without power.”The extension of BART further south to a Warm Springs/South Fremont Station has been delayed since its originally slated opening in 2014, and now is so fraught with issues that the agency’s authorities say they can’t even project a date it might be finished.”

    http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2017/01/19/extension-to-warm-springs-bart-still-months-away.html

  20. car(e)-free LA
    Jan 20th, 2017 at 07:21
    #20

    Welcome to doomsday!

    Roland Reply:

    Body count guesttimates for the next 4 days?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Depends on how many people bomb the March I’ll be attending.

    Roland Reply:

    What did Caltrain do to deserve this?
    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Inauguration-Day-protest-blocks-tracks-near-10872001.php

    Aarond Reply:

    Another reason to add suicide barriers.

    Reality Check Reply:

    Huh? What is a Caltrain “suicide barrier” and how would it have prevented this?

  21. Jerry
    Jan 20th, 2017 at 09:13
    #21

    “we will build rail”

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Who cares about that with all the nostalgic nationalism bullshit. America first makes me want to vomit.

    Eric M Reply:

    Then leave snowflake

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Why would I do that? That would be defeatist.
    PS. Calling someone a snowflake is low intellect and impolite.

    Eric M Reply:

    Don’t be ignorant

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    If you are capable of make rational educated points, then please do. Otherwise, please return to trolling the Yahoo news comment section insulting anybody who disagrees with you.

    Eric M Reply:

    That’s laughable. You demand respect, but have been lambasting and insulting Trump for weeks on this blog.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    With reason. He grabs women by the p*ssy, thinks immigrants are primarily rapists, murderers, or drug dealers, hates trade and globalization, and has extremely thin skin.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    You can call me snowflake if you stop insisting we bend over backwards to accommodate your nationalism, your xenophobia your racism, your stupid religion that you don’t even practice all that well (go ahead, tell me where Jesus says “defund Obamacare”) and cry bloody murder every time a right wing figure gets anything close to a real question on TV.

    Frankly, I don’t particularly care for the term snowflake, but if the conservative correctness crowd can’t handle what they get back, they should stop saying “snowflake”.

    The choice of weapons is largely a decision your opponent makes. If civil discourse is out of the question, it would be stupid to try and stay with it. It would be bringing a Tie Fighter to a Death Star fight…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    The other side has been telling the faithful Hillary is a she devil since 1993. How many years did the current leader of the party insist that Obama was born in Kenya?

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Also, I can’t legally do that due to archaic concepts like nationality, citizenship, and closed borders.
    Finally, like any decent person, I don’t put my country above the world as a whole. Of course I will prioritize 20 Chinese people I’ll never meet over 10 of my best friends. It’s the utilitarian and moral thing to do. I’m not selfish.

    joe Reply:

    Hilarious. You’re calling people who offend you “snowflake” — the day of the inauguration. Buy a MAGA hat and some self esteem.

    Trump says:

    America will start winning again, winning like never before.

    We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams.

    We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.

    We will get our people off of welfare and back to work — rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor.

    Couldn’t you even bother to quote him instead of using a 2016 meme?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    He was going to build a wall. that isn’t happening. He was going to prosecute, that isn’t happening. He was going to repeal. Well maybe not because once they leave all the parts in that they like it’s not repealed. There are multiple instances of him denying he ever said something even though there are videos of him saying it.

    Nice searchable lists of his promises

    https://thinkprogress.org/trump-made-a-lot-of-promises-about-what-he-will-do-as-president-weve-documented-663-of-them-3d28f0131e7

    joe Reply:

    I’m not drinking the kool-aid. Just showing a troll how to evolve past “snowflake” and suggested he at least pay lip service to the promises that will be broken.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Just adding a bit more. They don’t want to examine the promises. They would have to admit Dear Leader …..lied to them….

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The Dear Leader did not lie… He presented “alternative facts”….

    Jerry Reply:

    “railways”???
    Send the quote to Kevin McCarthy.
    Hold their feet to the fire. Bakersfield might get HSR.
    “tunnels”
    Send the quote to Chris Christie. He cancelled one.

    Jerry Reply:

    Tunnels?
    World renown expert in tunneling has been brought to the USA.
    El Chapo Tunneling.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    El Chapo is better at building railways than the current president of Mexico.

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    so what is this use of snowflake? It seems like a bitter term used mainly by men who have small penises who didn’t have what it takes to succeed the last 8 years. Guys who are so bent out of shape that they lost twice, that their asshole-y version of republican utopia was put on hold, so threatened by women, that they have to try to label people who have substance, empathy, vision, and a soul, as being weak and flimsy.

    Trumps win does not make you a better person. Trumps win does not make your attitude legitimate. It just gives you something to masturbate to while you grab each others asses.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Amen.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Trump did not even win. He lost by almost three million votes in the only vote that should count.

    When we say Trump won we start giving this sad excuse for a human being the “legitimacy” he has to be denied…

    Aarond Reply:

    He at least remembered to mention it this time around.

    Notably, Trump didn’t mention things like “government waste” or ” taxpayers” in his entire speech. It was 17 minutes spent pitching economic protectionism. CAHSR is covered because everything pertaining to them is already Buy America compliant.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    So what you’re saying is that he fused the worst of the Democrats with the worst of the Republicans?

    Jerry Reply:

    I thought the two “worst” candidates from either party ran in the fall election.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Only if you’re irrationally anti-clinton.

    Aarond Reply:

    There is one person who could have lost to Hilary: Jeb Bush. He withdrew on Feb 20th, before Super Tuesday. He couldn’t even win Texas or Florida. Hilary should have taken that as a huge red flag and changed her entire branding strategy right there (such as making Sanders VP), but she didn’t.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Which is sad, as Jeb! was the best Republican of the election. Cruz/Rubio wouldn’t have won as well. They couldn’t have got the rust belt.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Cruz would have gotten the whole Canadian born Latino who doesn’t speak Spanish vote, though…

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    Teddy speaks Spanish.

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    The majority of Latinos feel little to no affiliation with Cubans, particularly those who want to build a wall on the southern border.

    nslander Reply:

    Her immutable unfavorables by themselves made her a horrible candidate.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Also known as being an experienced female introvert?

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I don’t want to know Lincoln’s Unfavorables heading into 1860 – or for that matter early in 1864.

    Jerry Reply:

    The dearth of favorable candidates in both parties is appalling.
    Politics by the way is not rational.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    If politics were rational, the French Revolution would not have turned into a bloodbath…

    But the French Revolution such as it was is still being fought over and debated about, so maybe it going the whole hundred and twenty yards was necessary in some cruel sense…

  22. JimInPollockPines
    Jan 20th, 2017 at 13:45
    #22

    im so sick of people like him badmouthing california. he doesn’t deserve to live here.

    my email to ralph today.

    lazy hack.
    you stupid fuck. get your head out of your ass and do some real work for a change instead rehashing useless bullshit articles bashing hsr just because its easy.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Well with such an eloquent entreaty I am sure he will jump to the defense of HSR next time

    joe Reply:

    If we were only nice to Ralph he’d would have work harder.

    Maybe being hack catches up to him. The LATimes likes the attention but maybe now people are fed up with the media bullshit and they realize being promoted on Briebart isn’t good for business.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    No no, I agree. Keep sending him email insults, that will turn him around for sure. And threaten his job and tell him he will soon be out of work, that is a winning strategy.

    #notmyreporter. That will be the cherry on top

    JimInPollockPines Reply:

    john, haven’t you been paying attention at all? the american people ( whoever they are) have cleary stated the eloquence is out and telling it like it is and shooting from the hip and straight talk are in. No more worrying about hurting peoples feelings anymore. The american people ( whoever they are) have spoken!!!

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Sort of.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    You control yourself. Because Trump is a bully and a blunt cudgel of bullshit does not excuse anyone else from being that. In fact, to separate yourself from that which you detest you don’t act like that.

    Simple as what we teach children, just because someone else acted that way does not excuse your actions

  23. Jerry
    Jan 20th, 2017 at 18:35
    #23

    The CA HSR started under Barack Hussein Obama and under Donald John Trump it will be finished.
    It will be “finished”, one way or another. But it will be finished.
    I guarantee it.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Bigly?
    And no, CAHSR probably almost certainly won’t be finished by 2020/2024.

    Aarond Reply:

    To nitpick: it started under Schwarzenegger and will end under Newsom or Villar. CAHSR is still a CA-led project, especially if gas taxes is raised in the coming year.

  24. Elizabeth Alexis
    Jan 20th, 2017 at 20:19
    #24

    Apparently the Authority and FRA made a last minute deal on FY 2010 grant agreement. There is a real risk that the FRA will yank this money if the project doesn’t get a move on it.

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-bullet-train-20170120-story.html

    zorro Reply:

    It’s another article by Ralph Vartabedian, I don’t know which part is real, and which is FAKE…

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Here is the new agreement
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/funding_finance/funding_agreements/Executed_FY10_Amendment_1.pdf

    and here is the old one
    http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/funding_finance/funding_agreements/FR-HSR-0118-12-01-00.pdf

    Jerry Reply:

    CAHSRA signed the agreement change on 1-18-17.
    New end date is 12-31-2022.

    Jerry Reply:

    That will rattle some cages.

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    The extension comes with a shortened leash. There is a requirement to pay all of the ARRA matching funds before the Authority can use the FY 2010 money, plus a lot of additional reporting and requirements.

    Jerry Reply:

    Before the Authority can use the grant money? Is that the FY 2010 money?
    Will that impact the money for CalTrain electrification?
    If so, will that make the lawsuit moot?
    Or as Clem says, is the lawsuit Trumped?

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    Caltrain electrification is different -mostly. They are trying to get an FTA new starts grant (was supposed to be finalized earlier this week but as Clem notes down below, there is no public statement yet).

    They are also counting on getting access to $600+ million in Prop 1a construction funds. This is going through the funding plan process and will almost certainly be litigated.

    These should be separate from the FY 2010 issues.

    The lawsuit issues will loom larger – the Authority has enough money in the bank from cap and trade to pay bills until about the end of the year.

    zorro Reply:

    On 2nd thought, after doing both a Bing and a Google search, no trade site and the FRA doesn’t mention this at all, and except for the LA Times, the only places that mention this are small sites, so this is totally FAKE… Not to mention BS…

    And the only link in that article points to another LA Times article, not to the FRA…

    If anyone believes what Ralph Vartabedian says, they’re a SUCKER..

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    I just posted links to the agreements on the high speed rail site – is that a fake site????

    Clem Reply:

    The advent of the internet has truly propelled us into a post-factual age. Silicon Valley has backfired spectacularly!

    zorro Reply:

    If it’s not a FAKE article, then where is the source link???

    On the FRA site I found only 1 reference to this $928.62 Million loan, and that was from FY10(2010)…

    zorro Reply:

    Ok, I saw the links, still I don’t trust Ralph, He likes to play fast and loose with the truth.

  25. Clem
    Jan 20th, 2017 at 21:41
    #25

    So what’s the latest on the Federal Transit Administration’s Full Funding Grant Agreement for Caltrain electrification– is it getting Trumped?

    Elizabeth Alexis Reply:

    crickets

    Roland Reply:

    https://youtu.be/K8E_zMLCRNg

    Jerry Reply:

    Check with Ralph.
    :-)

    Wells Reply:

    Liberals demanding civil rights. Obama nod to Arab Spring
    against armed monarchy. Bush W left town wished the screen door slam him.
    Cryin’ liberals facing misery, injustice, reckless greed from the oil baron billionaire set.

    Aarond Reply:

    According to NARP, Chao did stick up for Amtrak funding back in 2002 underneath Bush. Not much else to go on and we probably won’t get an answer until Trump’s infrastructure plan is actually revealed.

  26. morris brown
    Jan 20th, 2017 at 22:52
    #26

    Authority withheld information from the funding plan consultant!

    Rita Wespi of CARRD at the last Authority Board meeting (1/18/2017) made a very interesting public comment.

    link: https://youtu.be/uG5TvUSCn1g

    at 1 min 38 sec into her comments she stated:

    My second topic. It is regarding the funding plan that was prepared in order to expend the 1A funds. The LA times article disclosed that the FRA’s risk analysis. Disclose that document which discussed project costs among other things and. What we’re wondering is why that analysis was not provided to the funding plan consultant. We at CARRD put in a public records request was a rather extensive one for all documents and communication. That were provided to the funding plan consultant. And we went through all of those and there were a lot of documents that the last package got in the mail yesterday and the FRA’s risk analysis will not among those shared with the consultant. The funding plan was a surprisingly structured review. The authority dictated which documents that the independent funding plan consultants received. And there was no hint at all that the consultants even knew that there was a FRA analysis. We’ve we find that concerning and it puts into question the integrity of the Funding Plan. So what we’re asking today is that the one you put the re-examination documents online and make a map ask a map be made of all the changes and number 2 is that you have the independent funding plan consultants review the FRA analysis and I think they will be helpful to everyone. thank you very much. Thank you.

    So this is really quite serious. The Authority not providing the consultant with all needed information certainly would keep the consultant from preparing a valid funding plan. The FRA Dec 1 2016 report is certainly information that should have been delivered to the consultant.

  27. morris brown
    Jan 21st, 2017 at 06:59
    #27

    SF Chronicle: State’s high-speed rail project comes under fire by GOP

    “Still, rail authority officials said they will push for nearly $3 billion in additional federal funding, ”

    Keep dreaming Gov. Brown and the Authority and meanwhile just keep spending.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    We are going to have to spend the money somewhere

    https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/an-americas-infrastructure-first-plan

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    I am sure the governor of CA and all they mayors pledging to resist or ignore the president will have no effect n where that money goes. He is such an emotionally stable and detached man.

    joe Reply:

    He’s not a King John.

    Congress controls budget and passes bills. The Senate requires 60 votes. Democrats will need to vote on a transportation budget. The President has to follow that Law.

    Rail projects and alternative energy are popular red states.

    Edward Reply:

    Is that “He’s not a King John.” or “He’s not a King, John.” Makes a difference. Shakespeare had something to say about it. :-)

    Jerry Reply:

    Eats, Shoots and Leaves. :-)

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Wasn’t King John the guy that had so little power he had to sign the Manga friggin Charta to get his Barons to allow him to pass a budget?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Oh yeah, the GOP congressmen love CA just as much. It’s not like they have been denying money to HSR for 6 years.

    Trump IS your best hope, to bully them into spending it. The congress has passed laws preventing money to CAHSR.

    Who do you think is going to vote for money for CAHSR when the congressmen FROM CA are voting against it!??

    Joe Reply:

    CHSR has challenge spending federal money into 2017. Why troll that more $$ wasn’t sent?

    2017 Forward, federal spending will require some senatorial compromise. Senatorial, not Trump.

    San. Harris defended the HSR project and is our CA senator. She can negotiate also for with other Dems for Fed transportation spending.

    60 votes needed to pass an budget and there is no line veto

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    50 votes to pass a budget with the Vice President to break the tie.

    joe Reply:

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

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reconciliation_(United_States_Congress)

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Budget passes with 50+1. Which is why Obamacare passed, and will soon be repealed.

    Also the fillibuster has been removed for budget and appointments, if it does on laws also that will be a good day. Holding it up by either side is wrong

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    That doesn’t mean you can’t threaten to filibuster literally everything else if you don’t get your way.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Obamacare was passed in the historical blip on the radar when Democrats had supermajorities in both houses…

    Don’t rewrite history…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Stupid question, but can’t a Member of the House get up and talk and talk and talk?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    The house does not have filibusters. Only the senate. It has to do with the rules of order they pass at the beginning of the year. And they no longer stand and talk like Mr Smith goes to Washington. They only have to place an anonymous hold that needs 60 votes to overturn. And they can’t do that on finance (budget) and appointments now. On the floor of the house they have a certain time, they can’t go forever.

    And check your history on Obamacare, Kennedy passed away during the process and was replaced by Brown. Which left them a vote short. They had both passed separate bills at that point, but they needed reconciliation to make them the same. So they used used reconciliation not the normal process of re passing the compromise bill. Reconciliation was used which was a criticism. No major social program ever used theismprocess before and especially with no minority part votes. It was a long term strategic error. Now it’s not stable and they can’t fix it.

    Which is why they have so many problems, the bill that was passed needed some work because it was a draft, but without the votes they could only adjust the finances.

    That is one of Obamacare’s biggest problems, they can’t tweak it like they did Part D and other large programs.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They can tweak it just like they can repeal it. Which they aren’t going to do because their constituents would get out the torches and pitchforks.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    ….just like the wall that was going to be built lickety split has become a fence that may or may not get built. Or how they all have lost interest in prosecuting Her. Or that draining the swamp thing.

    Joe Reply:

    The ACA passed the Senate with the necessary 60 votes.
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patient_Protection_and_Affordable_Care_Act

    zorro Reply:

    @ John Nachtigall: The House used to have filibusters up until 1842, today they are only in the Senate.

    Jerry Reply:

    Always found it interesting that Kennedy was replaced by a team party supported Republican (Brown) in a very strong Democratic state. (Although independents outnumbered Democrats and Republicans combined.)
    Voters were more concerned about the economy and jobs. They already had Romneycare.
    https://mobile.nytimes.com/2010/01/20/us/politics/20election.html?_r=0&referer=

    Jerry Reply:

    ‘tea party’

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Joe your own link says exactly what I said. The final form was passed with reconciliation. Did you even read it?

    Joe Reply:

    For those too busy to track down the part where 60 votes were need to pass the ACA.
    The filibuster required 60 votes. Compromises and negotiations were needed to get the 60 votes to end the filibuster of the bill. A simple majority could not pass th bill.

    On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The bill then passed, also 60–39, on December 24, 2009, with all Democrats and two independents voting for it, and all Republicans against (except Jim Bunning, who did not vote).[160] The bill was endorsed by the AMA and AARP.[161]

    Joe Reply:

    Budget passes with 50+1. Which is why Obamacare passed, and will soon be repealed

    Joe Reply:

    I don’t see exactness between what you wrote and the Wikipedia entry.

    Maybe I’m mis-representing – hard to tell without you showing the exactness.

    Jerry Reply:

    The road to Obamacare was paved with many good intentions.

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Wiki

    “House Democrats had expected to be able to negotiate changes in a House-Senate conference before passing a final bill. Since any bill that emerged from conference that differed from the Senate bill would have to pass the Senate over another Republican filibuster, most House Democrats agreed to pass the Senate bill on condition that it be amended by a subsequent bill.[165] They drafted the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which could be passed by the reconciliation process.[166][169][170]

    As per the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, reconciliation cannot be subject to a filibuster. But reconciliation is limited to budget changes, which is why the procedure was not used to pass ACA in the first place; the bill had inherently non-budgetary regulations.[171][172] Although the already-passed Senate bill could not have been passed by reconciliation, most of House Democrats’ demands were budgetary: “these changes—higher subsidy levels, different kinds of taxes to pay for them, nixing the Nebraska Medicaid deal—mainly involve taxes and spending. In other words, they’re exactly the kinds of policies that are well-suited for reconciliation.”[169]”

    What I wrote

    “Kennedy passed away during the process and was replaced by Brown. Which left them a vote short. They had both passed separate bills at that point, but they needed reconciliation to make them the same. So they used used reconciliation not the normal process of re passing the compromise bill. Reconciliation was used which was a criticism. ”

    They used reconciliation. They were very lucky the Senate had passed any bill before he passed, they made it by less than 3 weeks.

    And I agree, it was good intentions, but providing healthcare to the 10-20% of the population that currently pays 0 was never going to be as cheap as they sold. And putting it on the backs of the invincibles was never a good idea, young people dont have the money

    Joe Reply:

    Sorry but nothing happens without 60 Senate votes to end the filibuster and have this bill pass the Senate.

    You’re downstream in this quote ignoring the 60 vote requirement. Sad.

    The bill reflects the compromises needed to acquire 60 Senate votes.

    Joe Reply:

    On December 23, the Senate voted 60–39 to end debate on the bill: a cloture vote to end the filibuster. The bill then passed, also 60–39, on December.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But what happens if someone in the House just gets up and talks talks talks? Will this person just be dragged out by security?

    John Nachtigall Reply:

    Jesus…you really are incapable of reading

    I said “they had passed both bills at this point but needed reconciliation to make them the same”

    Yes, they got the 60 votes on the original senate bill, but needed reconciliation to pass it because the house would not agree to that bill. Without reconciliation, no bill. It’s plain as day. After Kennedy died they didn’t have the 60 votes anymore and any changes by the house on the bill needed 60 votes

    And in the house, they are called out of order and if they continue the Sergeant of Arms would physically remove them. No normal law enforcement agency can operate on the house floor other than him(her)

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

    Joe Reply:

    I cannot careless about parsing your confused thoughts.

    Factually, passing the ACA required 60 votes in the US Senate.
    It’s on Wikipedia in plain text.

    What you said and how you said and where you said is no concern.

    StevieB Reply:

    The ACA will not have an appropriations bill funding enforcement in this Congress. Appropriations bills cannot be filibustered and pass with 51 votes in the Senate.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    The president doesn’t write the laws, and we can fillibuster for earmarks. Kamala Harris would jump at the opportunity or raise her profile.

    Jerry Reply:

    I’m sure she would.

    Aarond Reply:

    Trump’s inaugural address focused on “America First”, and didn’t mention typical Republican talking points like limiting the government or cutting taxes. If that’s anything to go by, CAHSR is probably secure because it is Buy America compliant.

    This could be the birth of a new GOP. Trump has already taken blue collar workers in the Rust Belt, supporting infrastructure could net him votes in core Dem states.

    joe Reply:

    Right – it’s exciting to see fascist white supremacy on the rise in the GOP.
    Trunmp’s speech was written by Bannon and Miller.

    joe Reply:

    …and this is why it ended. 1920’s KKK:

    Making America great required exclusion, intolerance, and vitriol. Unfortunately for the Klan, their message of 100 percent Americanism started losing ground by the end of the 1920s.

    Public scandals involving Klan leaders and convictions of Klansmen for murder made white Americans reconsider their allegiance to the order and its increasingly tarnished ideals. The Klan started to appear too extreme and dangerous for even the slightest association. Their steep rise was tempered by an equally steep fall.

    Moreover, the Klan developed an image problem: their persistent association with racism—which continues to plague the modern Klans despite efforts to rebrand their image to reflect the love of the white race, not racism per se.

    Note your use of “blue collar workers” is a euphemism for whites.

    Aarond Reply:

    The GOP is openly Zionist and Trump himself married a Jew. Both facts infuriate true Klansmen.

    Anyway if factories come home that means more plastics factories in east LA and more mechatronics factories in Fremont. A more diversified economy means armies of mfg. workers who will vote for the protectionist party. It can even happen within San Francisco, where Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation (who is building 20+ S1B and 5+ A1B reactors for the navy) is located. Who knows, Trump might even pass an oil tariff which would be an immense boost for clean energy and mass transit.

    joe Reply:

    You evaded the blue collar euphemism for whites. If you use it, own it.

    Anyway factories will not come home. It’s a con.
    Tariffs and protectionism always cause job loss. manufacturing automation isn’t going to stop so no, there is no simple solution to protect jobs from automation.

    We’ll soon see SV tech companies flounder as their supply chains fail and they face barriers overseas. Facebook is a US company and easily banned in china. Apple is 100% dependent on foreign supply chains. No the US isn’t going to magically find rate earth material and bloom chip factories.

    Just look at your history book. We’ve tried this before.

    Roland Reply:

    Someone forgot to tell Elon: http://www.businessinsider.com/tesla-investing-350-million-gigafactory-hiring-500-workers-2017-1

    Jerry Reply:

    See. Trump’s election is paying off already.
    :-)
    :-)

    zorro Reply:

    Rare earth materials, yeah there is a supply of that in the USA, in Southern California, out in the desert, near the i15 fwy, so China isn’t the only source, it’s just possibly the cheapest.
    The Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine

    joe Reply:

    “The GOP is openly Zionist and Trump himself married a Jew. Both facts infuriate true Klansmen.”

    An infuriated Klan Grand Wizard said:

    David Duke: We did it
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/315279-david-duke-we-did-it

    Jerry Reply:

    We need, ‘the Church Lady.’
    Now. More than ever.

    les Reply:

    The main CAHSR political opposition with any kind of power has been McCarthy and Denham, same old players. In 6 months CAHSR can toss them to the curb once and for all. I know guys like McCain are strong believers in states rights so I can’t see guys like him interfering with C&T or any other state funding mechanism. Once fed money is spent and construction is moving along from the Y to SJ, interference from Laurel and Hardy will have dissipated and fed lending will resume. There will be no more reason to fight it, most major construction will have already transpired within their districts.

    Jerry Reply:

    Agree. But c&t has a lawsuit against it. (Could Scalia’s replacement decide the case? )
    Denham might want money for Merced and ACE.
    A lot of bones can be thrown to politicians to bring home the bacon and Make Their Districts Move Again. (via rail?)
    We will have to wait to hear what Donald wants for HIS infrastructure program. Or will he leave that up to his VP?

    Jerry Reply:

    Chances are that the military infrastructure will win out because that is where the BIG money is. And they (alone?) seem to know how to spread the jobs around to every Congressional District.
    Now if you had a good United Public Transportation Industrial Complex with big big lobbyists more money would go in that direction.

    Danny Reply:

    I have a Marty Feldman-sized hunch that Trump will be using the expanded Pentagon budget for his manufacturing and infrastructure improvements–think of a middle road between Eisenhower and Orson Krennic

    Jerry Reply:

    People are speculating on HIS, ‘Nixon to China’ moment.

    Jerry Reply:

    “Springtime for Trump.”
    Straight out of the, ‘Producers’.
    Goldman Sachs must be in on it.

    Jerry Reply:

    Hillary even could give a couple of more speeches.

    Danny Reply:

    if you read the 2015 “pied piper” memo the DNC was literally thinking like Bialystok & Bloom–they got everything they wanted and were destroyed by it; someone might even go to Sing Sing over some funny money
    things like this unnerve me a little

    Jerry Reply:

    Everything about the 2016 election ‘unnerved’ me.

    Paul Dyson Reply:

    When Siemens won the Sprinter locomotive contract they produced a map showing suppliers in 20 plus states. It can be done.

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks. We need more of that. For all of Public Transportation.
    Plus reminders to the congress people that helping Public Transportation helps their districts in more ways than one. Heavy lobbying also would help.
    Anti-war people should help with that as well. (War helps no one. Money for PT helps everyone.)
    Concerned climate change citizens should help with that as well. Lower or pollution free transportation.

    Jerry Reply:

    A few red caps with, Make P.T. Great Again, on them might help.

    Jerry Reply:

    Look how “Pussyhats” are helping women get their message across:
    http://www.npr.org/2017/01/21/510997192/with-pussyhats-liberals-get-their-own-version-of-the-red-trucker-hat

    Aarond Reply:

    Seems derivative, the MAGA hats only work because Trump is a shameless, uncouth businessman who sells tacky novelty items. Remember Jeb’s guac bowls?

    Danny Reply:

    remember Jeb’s black left hand?

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    It’s doubleplusungood that the memory holes aren’t working like they should.

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/10/07/donald_trump_2005_tape_i_grab_women_by_the_pussy.html

    Joe Reply:

    Derivative?
    Hmmm.

    The Phrygian cap is a soft conical cap with the top pulled forward, associated in antiquity with several peoples in Eastern Europe and Anatolia, including Phrygia, Dacia and the Balkans. In early modern Europe it came to signify freedom and the pursuit of liberty through a confusion with the pileus, the felt cap of manumitted (emancipated) slaves of ancient Rome. Accordingly, the Phrygian cap is sometimes called a liberty cap; in artistic representations it signifies freedom and the pursuit of liberty.

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

    Jerry Reply:

    I always did get the Phrygians mixed up with the Pileus.
    :-)

    Jerry Reply:

    Or maybe a blue and white stripe engineer’s cap with:
    Make Trains Great Again
    on it???

    Jerry Reply:

    Les: Always better to toss them a bone, than to “toss them to the curb.”

    les Reply:

    yes, should tell them unemployment has dropped from 14% to 7% in their districts (thanks mostly to HSR) and they need to sustain it with their own pet projects.

  28. Jerry
    Jan 21st, 2017 at 12:55
    #28

    Much overlooked.
    Former Vice President Joe Biden took Amtrak home to Delaware.

    Roland Reply:

    Not overlooked at all and duly noted.

    Danny Reply:

    “Much overlooked former Vice President Joe Biden”

    Jerry Reply:

    We need more Joe’s like him.

    Car(e)-Free LA Reply:

    Biden 2020?

    Roland Reply:

    A Biden/Warren ticket would have obliterated Agent Orange but there is no point crying over spilt milk.

  29. Roland
    Jan 22nd, 2017 at 01:41
    #29

    Closer look at the Hyperloop test track showing a port hole and a single vacuum pump connection for each section: https://youtu.be/Zoi1fv28zrk?t=383. The last shot in the video shows a second rail running parallel to the test track itself: https://youtu.be/Zoi1fv28zrk?t=482. Does anyone know what the second rail is for?

    Roland Reply:

    Revision 5.0 does not show the second rail but mentions “rail(s)” (plural) so it looks like the second rail may have been added later for lateral control and additional braking: https://www.badgerloop.com/documents/TubeSpecs.pdf

    Roland Reply:

    The mid-tube inside peek shows a single rail (???) https://youtu.be/Zoi1fv28zrk?t=383.
    Is anybody going to Hawthorne on Friday?

  30. Roland
    Jan 22nd, 2017 at 13:18
    #30

    “We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, AND TUNNELS and railways all across our wonderful nation.” http://www.businessinsider.com/trump-inauguration-speech-transcript-full-text-video-2017-1
    Does anyone know if our new President is referring to Pacheco, Grapevine, Transbay, Hudson Bay or all of the above?

    Neville Snark Reply:

    Ha ha. I don’t think he has any idea of what sorts of projects are potentially in the pipeline. Sad!

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Keystone Corridor tunnels, Madison-Milwaukee HSR, and Detroit-Windsor bridge.

    Jerry Reply:

    Roland: If you know D.T. he is definitely interested in the Hudson’s Bay Tunnel:
    http://www.thebay.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/en/thebay/tunnel-solid-swim-bottoms-0036-51ms2046–24

    Jerry Reply:

    Would the Gateway Tunnel qualify? ?
    The one Governor Christie stopped?
    https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2015-10-14/christie-s-dead-tunnel-gives-way-to-one-costing-billions-more

    Jerry Reply:

    Schumer has more interest and influence to get help for Tunnels in NYC area. Area that D.T. is from.

    Jerry Reply:

    For its support CA might get some crumbs.
    Tunnels for NYC area and HSR to Bakersfield. ??

    car(e)-free LA Reply:

    Or if it involved a red state, like LA-Phoenix-Tucson HSR, Cincinnati-Indianapolis-Chicago-Wisconsin-Minneapolis HSR, Virginia-North Carolina HSR, Cleveland-Pittsburgh-Philadelphia-New Jersey-New York HSR, etc.

    Jerry Reply:

    Kansas I-70 was the 1st section of the Interstate Highway system.
    D.T.’s HSR will have variations of a route from Wichita thru Topeka to Kansas City with a straight shot to St.Louis.
    The factory will be in Missouri.
    Later, a route from St.Louis to Indianapolis and Cincinnati.
    Or, vice versa.
    It will be great.

    Jerry Reply:

    The USA train speed record is in Indiana.

    Jerry Reply:

    The Midwest HSR Association is interested.
    http://www.midwesthsr.org/missouri
    There’s more flat land there with cheaper labor.
    Straighter current rail ROW would be easy to access.
    It would be their patriotic duty to help MAGA.

    Aarond Reply:

    Remember that most of the GOP is not against HSR or Amtrak, only Tea Partiers are. The same group of people whose champion (Ted Cruz) lost to Trump.

    The amount of transit money states get is dependent entirely on if Trump will commit to his infrastructure plan. Even though WIHSR and OHHSR died, 125 mph projects are probably feasible if Trump is there to make the sell.

    adirondacker12800 Reply:

    They’ve been against Amtrak since Nixon signed the legislation creating it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amtrak#Formation

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    But remarkably middle of the road Republicans always want more Amtrak through their state/district instead of less…

    Even if those routes hemorrhage money faster than you can say “boondoggle” (Not that I say money-losing rail lines can’t make sense, but there may be better rail projects to spend money on)

    Danny Reply:

    that’s actually a characteristic trait of US politics: people think of themselves as cowboys and that Washington just takes their hard-earned money and gives it to the unworthy

    but the Republican states/areas are usually the most dependent ones, from a combination of factors (refusal to spend on infrastructure, the productiveness of urban centers, low rural wages, low prices for crops/timber/water often ironically caused by high production): in order to keep up appearances and flatter their constituents the pols bite the Fed hand that feeds

    I always use Amtrak as the key example of this political “hat trick”–the more unprofitable a line is 1. the more the Senators of the states that it services damn Amtrak’s losses and 2. the more their states rely on it

    they want the Pioneer, the Desert Wind, they want a Caprock Chief and North Coast Hiawatha, they want an Atlanta Hub, and they want Acela and CA to pay for it all

    Jerry Reply:

    Thanks Danny.
    If NATO states should pay their “fair” share,
    Should AMTRAK states pay their “fare” share???
    :-)

    Jerry Reply:

    What’s good for the gander, is good for the goose.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    I thought the operative term was “sauce”…

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Why can’t we just raise the gas tax to pay for it?

    Jerry Reply:

    #1. No one in politics ever ever wants to be accused of “raising taxes.” Even if it is to pay for something. (See Iraq War. Start a war, and LOWER taxes at the same time.)
    #2. The USA frowns on paying for anything. We put it on charge cards. And kick the can down the road. And let future generations worry about it.

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    Higher end consumer gas prices would actually also address the giant trade deficit elephant in the room…

    Jerry Reply:

    “hard-earned money” Interesting!
    I hear that reference a lot.
    But really, there’s a lot of “easy-earned money” out there.
    But I never ever hear anyone refer to that. (wonder why?)
    Always wondered, what % is “hard-earned”, and what % is “easy-earned”??

    Bahnfreund Reply:

    The vast majority of privately held wealth comes from inheritance and or “investment” – which few people would consider “hard earned”… But the vast majority of people do little to know inheriting or investing…

  31. Jerry
    Jan 22nd, 2017 at 19:47
    #31

    The TRUE alternative FACTS are just in:
    The Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to the Super Bowl
    Lyin’ media of course is reporting their usual lies.
    Losers will demand a recount and will rig their way in. Sad.

    Aarond Reply:

    Just a circus to get everyone distracted from the lack of any information vis-a-vis Trump’s taxes or business divestment. It’s been successful so far.

    But it’s frustrating to turn on the TV and have over ten “news” channels talking about something as petty as the number of inauguration or protest attendees. It’s completely absurd.

    Jerry Reply:

    And I still don’t know or understand how in the world he gets away with it.
    And he has defenders who back him up.

    Aarond Reply:

    His “defenders” have bigger plans. They want Tariffs enacted and the Hart-Celler act repealed. They play into the media to keep them busy with meaningless guff.

    Jerry Reply:

    They might try to suspend, modify, or eliminate the Davis-Bacon Act also.

  32. Roland
    Jan 22nd, 2017 at 22:14
    #32

    In all fairness to the LA Times, they published the latest Dan Richard and Jeff Morales letter to the Editor: http://www.latimes.com/opinion/readersreact/la-ol-le-bullet-train-costs-20170122-story.html

  33. Roland
    Jan 22nd, 2017 at 23:29
    #33

    Here is what is going to get hit first if the you-know-what hits the fan: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/tanks-roll-through-chunnel-as-europe-frets-about-trump-russia/ar-AAm7jvh

    Jerry Reply:

    “Trump’s main gripe with NATO is that some members do not pull their weight financially. The facts support this view, and Barack Obama had complained of similar. Encouraging these smaller states to become self-sufficient may even be a good thing, according to some analysts.”

  34. Aarond
    Jan 23rd, 2017 at 14:25
    #34

    Food for thought: a supposed rail line between Reno and Vegas.

    http://www.rgj.com/story/opinion/voices/2016/12/02/one-view-nevada-high-speed-rail-possible-under-trump/94843424/

    I’d also mention that such a rail line would pass very close to the National Test Site, Homey Airfield, and Yucca Mountain. All three of which benefit heavily from rail facilities.

    Jerry Reply:

    Interesting.
    “More than 80 percent of the land between Reno and Las Vegas is owned by the federal government. That land could be deeded to the state for $1 for a limited-access interstate freeway and primarily single-track rail line, about a football field wide right-of-way. Environmental objections could be dealt with by the same solution applied to the border fence in the 2005 Real ID Act, the waiver of such statutes to allow for the construction by a Cabinet secretary, in this case by the Secretary of Transportation.”

  35. Wells
    Jan 23rd, 2017 at 16:51
    #35

    http://cal.streetsblog.org/2017/01/19/will-l-a-times-irresponsible-coverage-of-high-speed-rail-doom-the-project/

    Might be a bug on this string.
    “The route for the Merced to Bakersfield wasn’t approved by the Board until last October.”
    That sounds better as “Merced to Bakersfield ‘WAS’ approved last October.”
    I can get behind reaching Merced First! Hello?

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