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Beta_Magellan Jan 5, 2011 4:00 PM

And one of the main components of Amtrak’s dream plan for the northeast was an all-new route through Connecticut.

With regards to upgrading NJ’s catenary, do you think Christie would approve if it meant that damned mass transit would spend less time in his state? :notacrook:

M II A II R II K Jan 7, 2011 12:38 AM

China eyes state rail plan


Jan. 6, 2011

By TIM SHEEHAN

http://media.sacbee.com/static/img/s...nto-bee-sm.png

Read More: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/01/03/329...rail-plan.html

Quote:

The Chinese want in on the state's fledgling high-speed rail project. They're eager to help bankroll and build the system and, eventually, provide the trains to operate on the tracks.

China's not alone. Eight nations have agreements with the California High-Speed Rail Authority to share information about high-speed rail -- and each wants a piece of California's business.

"Other countries want to be a part of this because they know high-speed rail can be profitable," said Jeffrey Barker, the authority's deputy executive director. "Their ultimate interest is operating the system."

Experts suggest that China's economic might -- and government-backed companies -- give it an advantage.

"China is cash-flush, and its highly subsidized industries are bankrolled with surplus government funds," said Usha Haley, a professor of international business at Massey University in New Zealand and an expert on China's worldwide business strategies. "They're investing in infrastructure around the world ... and if they're bidding in an open-bid process, China will get that bid."

California and the United States are squarely in China's sights, said Christopher Barkan, director of the Rail Transportation and Engineering Center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

On a tour of China's largest rail manufacturer last summer, Barkan met with a Ministry of Railways official who prominently displayed a map of the United States on his office wall.

....



http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2011/...ffiliate.4.JPG

Beta_Magellan Jan 7, 2011 4:19 AM

Good to see more outside interest in the America’s HSR, especially coupled with Japan’s interest in Florida, this helps to show that these are legitimate investments, not boondoggles (although people have invested in vanity projects before, of course).

I wonder if it will have any effect on CAHSR’s operating practices—from what I’ve heard they’re going for a staff-heavy Amtrak-style operation as opposed to newer European methods—would Chinese involvement lead to a more modern model of operations?

M II A II R II K Jan 7, 2011 10:47 PM

Will High-Speed Rail Get Sick with BART Syndrome?


http://www.baycitizen.org/transporta...get-sick-bart/

Quote:

BART Syndrome. No, it’s not some virus you catch riding the train.

According to urban planners, it’s what happens when a BART station gets built — but nothing else gets built around it, defeating the purpose of what is known as transit-oriented development, which aims to fight environmental problems by reducing sprawl and car use.

Now a group of lawmakers and planners is trying to make sure the disease of desolate train stations doesn’t spread to California’s ambitious high-speed rail project, which the state hopes will carry passengers at 220 miles per hour from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, or SPUR, said that the environmental benefits of rail will be lost if there isn’t development around the stations, which are currently planned for both dense urban centers and more sprawling cities like Gilroy, Fresno and Bakersfield.

“Getting the system built is only half the battle, and getting the patterns of growth changed is the second,” said Metcalf, whose organization this week is putting out a report called “Beyond the Tracks,” which identifies “BART Syndrome” along with some possible remedies.

The problem, Metcalf and others acknowledge, is that no one can fix the problem by fiat. Planning is up to local governments, and building is up to developers, not the high-speed rail authority or the state. Local governments have long bristled at the notion of “regional planning,” and developers often find it easier to build sprawling developments far from the cries of opinionated neighbors.

....

penfold Jan 7, 2011 10:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 5117542)
Will High-Speed Rail Get Sick with BART Syndrome?

The development around East Bay BART stations is really shameful.

If only BART could catch DC Metro Syndrome.

ardecila Jan 8, 2011 2:14 AM

Simple. Get the state legislature to give CHSRA the zoning authority for 1/4 mile around each station.

jamesinclair Jan 8, 2011 7:58 AM

This gem was in the letters to the editor in the paper today.

All you can do is laugh


Quote:

The Bee ran an article Jan. 2 that discussed Chinese interest in investing in California's high-speed rail project. Of course they are. They are aware that this train will destroy thousands of acres of farmland, which means that more food products will have to be imported from China.

A word of caution for those people that think this is a good idea: How did the Chinese milk laced with melamine work out?

Manuel Cunha Jr.

President, Nisei Farmers League
Read more: http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/01/07/...#ixzz1AQd9s2OT

Troubadour Jan 8, 2011 1:34 PM

I kind of have to agree with suspicions about Chinese involvement. This is not a friendly government: They openly invade our electronic resources with impunity, destroyed a satellite in orbit that spread debris that our satellites have to keep dodging on a regular basis, use treaty-violating currency manipulation to maintain huge trade imbalances, and recently restricted rare metal exports crucial to Japanese and US electronics manufacturers (a resource of which they control 95% of the global supply). Giving China a central role in the critical infrastructure of the USA's largest state economy would be dubious enough - letting them operate it would be beyond ludicrous. Still, there's no reason we can't have consultations, and I certainly have no problem with European involvement.

pesto Jan 8, 2011 7:27 PM

The spy vs. spy thing with the Chinese is real and continuing but probably not relevant to this. I understand they can already bring down telecom, finance and the power grid at will but won't because they are too heavily invested in the world commercial system.

My greater concern is that neither the Chinese or Japanese, who have made overtures on the Ca. HSR and LA-LV rail lines, have offerred any equity in these deals. Quite the opposite, they have demanded federal quarantees that they will get paid for products and services. This indicates to me that the smell a loser of money and want to remain as suppliers and service providers.

Onn Jan 8, 2011 8:36 PM

The Chinese probably are just interested in the business deal, building and designing the system would be jobs for all the people that just built and designed the near saturated Chinese high-speed rail system. But I find it rather unlikely Chinese businesses would get the deals having the least amount of experience. This isn't the US government making the business deals (like the Chinese government does) but the state of California.

M II A II R II K Jan 8, 2011 10:05 PM

And plus the Chinese have more experience actually building the high speed rail in their own country.

SnyderBock Jan 9, 2011 12:13 AM

When does construction break ground?

ardecila Jan 9, 2011 5:46 AM

Construction will not start until the design is finished. Fortunately, the Fresno-Bakersfield segment is a breeze compared to the complex design work that CAHSR will require in urbanized SoCal and the Bay Area.

My guess? At the earliest, groundbreaking is 12-18 months from now.

XtremeDave Jan 9, 2011 8:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SnyderBock (Post 5118801)
When does construction break ground?

Construction on the Bakersfield-Fresno segment is supposed to begin in early to mid 2012. Because of the federal dollars involved and the election that year, there will be pressure from the government to make sure construction on that segment begins on time.

PragmaticIdealist Jan 9, 2011 11:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5118418)
The spy vs. spy thing with the Chinese is real and continuing but probably not relevant to this. I understand they can already bring down telecom, finance and the power grid at will but won't because they are too heavily invested in the world commercial system.

My greater concern is that neither the Chinese or Japanese, who have made overtures on the Ca. HSR and LA-LV rail lines, have offerred any equity in these deals. Quite the opposite, they have demanded federal quarantees that they will get paid for products and services. This indicates to me that the smell a loser of money and want to remain as suppliers and service providers.

1. No foreign government will ever be allowed to take an equity interest in a multibillion-dollar piece of American infrastructure.

2. The true risk is that some screwball politician or interest group will succeed in killing the high-speed rail system before it's completed.

pesto Jan 9, 2011 6:00 PM

PI: true but you miss the point. The Chinese and Japanese were not intereted in equity and wanted federal guarantees on the state's or other local body's obligations under the agreement. If they believed in CA HSR's ability to pay for services and product they wouldn't be concerned about this and perhaps would want to be involved in operations, maintenance or repair on a JV basis. But not a word about this in the articles I saw.

Troubadour Jan 9, 2011 6:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5118418)
I understand they can already bring down telecom, finance and the power grid at will but won't because they are too heavily invested in the world commercial system.

The point is not that they would necessarily bring down our infrastructure, but that they have never shown the slightest bit of restraint in overtly abusing leverage. Case in point would be the rare metals situation - they manipulated their currency and export profile to eliminate virtually all global competition, and now that they have an effective monopoly they're restricting exports and dictating terms to electronics manufacturers. Trade relationships are entirely parasitic on their part, and international mechanisms for correcting imbalances have failed to improve the situation. To involve China in a central role in something as massive and economically vital as CHSR would be...the only word for it is "idiotic." For every dollar they "invested," they would suck out five and still do shoddy work - it's their M.O. We should consult with them, study what they're doing (both successes and mistakes), but go with Europe.

Gordo Jan 9, 2011 6:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5119403)
PI: true but you miss the point. The Chinese and Japanese were not intereted in equity and wanted federal guarantees on the state's or other local body's obligations under the agreement. If they believed in CA HSR's ability to pay for services and product they wouldn't be concerned about this and perhaps would want to be involved in operations, maintenance or repair on a JV basis. But not a word about this in the articles I saw.

I think their skepticism probably has a lot more to do with the political parts of the project, rather than a doubt whether HSR can make money on the route. Would you invest in something that doesn't have any certainty yet for stations and routing? I think that it would be a totally different ballgame if tomorrow it was announced that X amount of state and federal funding was guaranteed (regardless of how much private funding comes in), along with some kind of guarantee that lawsuits, etc on the route were over. End legal and financing limbo and you might be surprised at the willingness of others to invest.

JDRCRASH Jan 9, 2011 7:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5119451)
End legal and financing limbo and you might be surprised at the willingness of others to invest.

You think maybe that's why progress seems to be rapidly moving on the CAHSR and maybe not as much on the others proposed in the US?

RAlossi Jan 10, 2011 5:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist (Post 5119192)
1. No foreign government will ever be allowed to take an equity interest in a multibillion-dollar piece of American infrastructure.

You really are an idealist. I agree that the state of today's infrastructure funding environment on alternate modes of transportation are insane... however, our own government doesn't have the political will or even the built-in know-how to get the job done. If China or Japan or Germany or South Korea are our only way to get it done, then so be it. I think we're all in for quite a shock when a foreign government DOES end up funding the system. It would have been unimaginable 20, 30, and 40 years ago. This is how far our place in the world has fallen.

I don't see American corporations stepping up with funding or even showing an interest in HSR funding. I don't see the current Congress stepping up with the billions of dollars that it would take to finish the first phase. California can't fund the system itself. I see no reasonable alternative outside of a foreign government, unless you're aware of something I'm not. That means it's either CA gets its system and China gets a feather in its cap, or we send the dollars back to the feds and call it a day. I'm going with Option A. If America has to be shamed into starting a national dialog on transportation funding, that's just what has to happen.

M II A II R II K Jan 17, 2011 3:40 PM

California's high-speed rail project is on the right track


http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...011406824.html

Quote:

The Jan. 12 editorial "Hit the brakes," criticizing California's high-speed rail plan, was shortsighted and parochial. If President Dwight D. Eisenhower had waited until he had all the cash on hand, all the lines drawn on a map and all the naysayers on board, America wouldn't have an interstate highway system. We stand at a similar crossroads today when it comes to high-speed rail.

Because of the leadership of President Obama, our children and grandchildren will benefit from a high-speed rail system that connects 80 percent of Americans and keeps us competitive with other leading nations. High-speed rail will revitalize America's manufacturing sector, spur economic development and create green, high-wage jobs for tens of thousands.

The people of California understand this, which is why they approved a nearly $10 billion bond measure to build a high-speed rail system in their state. The Obama administration is proud to support California's pioneering plan with a $3.6 billion investment that will jump-start the project by funding the first section of the corridor ready to be built, in the Central Valley.

.....


Rebuttal to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...011106259.html

pesto Jan 17, 2011 8:41 PM

Useless PR speak: "Crossroads"; "naysayers"; "competitive"; "revitalize"; "create green, high-wage jobs", etc. Didn't they forget "the glorious leadership of our beloved leader, Father-President Obama"? This is another example of how it is possible to cut 30 percent of the federal budget without losing a bit of productivity.

A little thin on facts, support, or argumentation. Otherwise, a nice job.

drifting sun Jan 17, 2011 10:14 PM

Shut up, Randal.

jamesinclair Jan 20, 2011 7:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5129275)
This is another example of how it is possible to cut 30 percent of the federal budget without losing a bit of productivity..

It's amazing how much idiocy can be condensed in such a small place.

Busy Bee Jan 20, 2011 7:58 PM

Pesto's positions, which seem to run about 75-100% anti prevalent thinking on this forum, seem peculiar - maybe akin to a white racist hanging out on afrocentric forums "just to chat."

Why are you even here? If you're hanging out just to stir up trouble and get off on it, hit the road - you love roads, right?

northbay Jan 21, 2011 5:10 PM

pesto has been trolling a long time now. don't forget you can 'ignore' people on the forum! ;)

surprised nobody posted anything about this:

Quote:

“We’ll put up half the money for California HSR” says Japan’s Ambassador to the United States
Jan 15th, 2011 | Posted by Dennis Lytton

Yesterday I attended the Japanese government sponsored high speed rail seminar in Los Angeles. Led by the Japan International Transport Institute (JITI) and their country’s passenger rail operators and manufactures, the conference was an impressive push for California HSR to utilize Japanese knowledge, equipment, and perhaps most critically, financing.

Japan’s ambassador to the United States, Ichiro Fujisaki, was in Los Angeles from Washington, DC for the conference. Ambassador Fujisaki’s opening remarks to the conference were a forceful call for us to use Japanese know-how and equipment for our high speed rail. Most extraordinarily, the ambassador stated that he believes Japan will pay for up to half of the cost of the California’s HSR.

This is significant of course as we try to find dollars to complete our system. While Fujisaki’s comments of course don’t bind the Japanese government, its railways, or the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC, the likely vehicle for California HSR financing as I’ll explain below) it is nonetheless a significant statement. Japan’s highest ranking diplomat would not make such a statement lightly. Furthermore, there is every reason to believe that such cooperation on HSR between the US and Japan is very much in our bi-lateral national security interests.

...

JR East President and Chairman of Japan’s Council for Global Promotion of Railways Satoshi Seino explained that the state owned Japan Bank for International Cooperation has recently been authorized to invest in high-speed rail and urban rail in the U.S. and other developed countries. Their presentation suggested that the loan terms would be long and the interest rate would be set at a quarter percent over the LIBOR rate (an interbank interest rate).

Executives from several of Japan’s Shinkansen operating railway companies and train manufacturer Kawasaki followed. Some highlights from their presentations included:

* Mixed Use Development – Land use planning and economic development of station areas has been an integral part of HSR development from the beginning in Japan. Examples of both infill and greenfield station developments there were illustrated. Useful parallels to Los Angeles Union Station and Fresno’s future HSR station were made.
* Earthquake Design Countermeasures – They are extensive in the Japanese system and we can be confident that being on a California HSR train will be one of the safest places to be when the big one hits.
* Integration of Conventional Branch Lines into HSR Operations – The Japanese practice of trains uncoupling cars at intermediate stations and having one of the cars proceed down the “conventional” railroad (at conventional speeds) was discussed. This would certainly be possible here. In a way it would be easier since HSR and conventional railroads would use the same gauge (4 ft. 8.5 in.) whereas Shinkansen uses a different gauge than the “legacy” railways in Japan. However, the lack of electrification on American railways would make this harder. Down the San Joaquin corridor and even the LA Metrolink/Surfliner corridors would be candidates for this kind of one-seat operation.
* Technology Transfer – Kawasaki Heavy Industries (which already has two plants in the US for conventional railcar manufacture) as well as the JR operating companies’ representatives all expressed a strong willingness to transfer their expertise to this country. This would be accomplished through the development of American parts suppliers, final assembly in the U.S., and pre-training of trainset maintenance staff. Kawasaki even expressed a desire to retool American auto parts suppliers to HSR parts suppliers.
* FRA Compliance – Kawasaki asserts that their efSET (2) proposed train for export will “comply with FRA requirements”. Whether this is the current FRA requirements for inefficient overbuilt HSR trains (Acela) or upcoming sensible regulations remains to be seen.

(All the presentations are supposed to be on JITI’s website soon).

...I find that sovereign investment in our HSR system from Japan and also France, for instance, to be in keeping with out national security and foreign policy goals. Chinese investment, in contrast, seems more problematic foreign policy-wise. Japan and Western Europe are our long standing allies in the world and they largely share our values with regards to democracy and civil society.

I “feel good” about a enlisting Japanese help in getting California and this country moving into the 21st century.
source: http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/01/%E2...united-states/

northbay Jan 26, 2011 4:36 PM

glad to hear obama mention ca hsr during the state of the union. when the speech ended one of the people who asked for his autograph said he was so-and-so from ca hsr and obama plugs it again, though its kinda hard to hear with all the people talking.

CyberEric Jan 26, 2011 9:19 PM

Nice. And if the Japanese are going to fund half of it, what are we waiting for?! :)

electricron Jan 27, 2011 12:57 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by CyberEric (Post 5140559)
Nice. And if the Japanese are going to fund half of it, what are we waiting for?! :)

Aren't we waiting for Japan to actually grant the money?

Their money comes with strings attached, like committing to buy their HSR trains and controls, with their management personnel controlling the purse strings..

RAlossi Jan 27, 2011 7:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5140907)
Aren't we waiting for Japan to actually grant the money?

Their money comes with strings attached, like committing to buy their HSR trains and controls, with their management personnel controlling the purse strings..

lol, if someone can show me an all-American company or government entity with the know-how and technology to build HSR, I might even raise an eyebrow. As it stands, our domestic knowledge is limited. Any tech we buy will have to come from Japan, China, Germany, France, Spain, etc. The best we can really hope for is assembly and construction jobs here. The train has already left the station on this issue, I'm afraid.

zilfondel Jan 27, 2011 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RAlossi (Post 5141362)
Any tech we buy will have to come from Japan, China, Germany, France, Spain, etc. The best we can really hope for is assembly and construction jobs here. The train has already left the station on this issue, I'm afraid.

To be precise, it left the station 47 years ago!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen

RAlossi Jan 27, 2011 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by zilfondel (Post 5142313)
To be precise, it left the station 47 years ago!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinkansen

Exactly. If the issue is either buy Japanese tech with Japanese funds (or Chinese tech with Chinese funds), or wait around for the Tea Party to send investment funds our way, I'm going with the former.

Any foreign investment bank is only going to invest if it benefits their bottom line. They obviously think they can make money on the system. Japan has stated it will invest in half of the cost of the CAHSR system at below-market interest rates. They'll probably operate it through a partnership with a subsidiary in California. That's the price we pay for leadership that can't think big anymore.

bobdreamz Jan 28, 2011 12:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RAlossi (Post 5141362)
lol, if someone can show me an all-American company or government entity with the know-how and technology to build HSR, I might even raise an eyebrow. As it stands, our domestic knowledge is limited. Any tech we buy will have to come from Japan, China, Germany, France, Spain, etc. The best we can really hope for is assembly and construction jobs here. The train has already left the station on this issue, I'm afraid.

RAlossi Japan has also promised us in Florida to fund the state's 10% investment and have already met with the new Governor Scott this month. At this point we don't even know if Scott will proceed with HSR since he doesn't want Floridians to pay for it. We are awaiting his decision in September now & if the Japanese come through with funding it will set the precendent for California also.

Beta_Magellan Jan 28, 2011 2:47 AM

Would funding operation also bring Japanese operating methods and standards? From what I understand, Amtrak hasn’t really changed its operations (in terms of things like staffing levels and the like) since taking over from the old railroads. If so, it could really help burnish the image of rail in the US.

202_Cyclist Jan 28, 2011 3:03 AM

One solution for airport overcrowding? High speed rail (SD Union-Tribune)
 
One solution for airport overcrowding? High speed rail


BY ROBERT J. HAWKINS,
JANUARY 26, 2011

"A different sort of solution to San Diego International Airport's seam-busting future pulled into the spotlight Wednesday night: the high-speed rail train.

If the proposed high speed train were to connect to the north end of Lindbergh Field, it could draw away from the airport an estimated 1.5 million passengers who might otherwise be flying to such California destinations as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Ontario, according to airport consultants.

That conclusion came out of the draft version of the Regional Strategic Airport Plan, a first-time ever look at the potential of all 12 public airports in the county..."

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...gh-speed-rail/

electricron Jan 28, 2011 4:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5142611)
If the proposed high speed train were to connect to the north end of Lindbergh Field, it could draw away from the airport an estimated 1.5 million passengers who might otherwise be flying to such California destinations as Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Ontario, according to airport consultants.

So, how much is 1.5 million passengers compared to what's using Lindbergh Field today?
Total Passengers = 16,974,172 as of 2009 = around 17 million.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Die...tional_Airport
Math = 1.5 / 17 x 100 = 8.8%

And that's just from San Diego. Assuming every airport in California is affected the same, the total number of passengers riding the trains may increase astronomically, it'll still be just 8.8% of the total.
Hopefully, a larger percentage of L.A. & S.F. flying passengers take the train.

sammyg Jan 28, 2011 7:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5142665)
So, how much is 1.5 million passengers compared to what's using Lindbergh Field today?
Total Passengers = 16,974,172 as of 2009 = around 17 million.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Die...tional_Airport
Math = 1.5 / 17 x 100 = 8.8%

And that's just from San Diego. Assuming every airport in California is affected the same, the total number of passengers riding the trains may increase astronomically, it'll still be just 8.8% of the total.
Hopefully, a larger percentage of L.A. & S.F. flying passengers take the train.

9% is quite a lot - San Diego has 45 gates, so 8.8 percent is the same as clearing out almost 4 (3.96) gates for the entire day.

202_Cyclist Jan 28, 2011 8:22 PM

Quote:

So, how much is 1.5 million passengers compared to what's using Lindbergh Field today?
At the Transportation Research Board's annual meeting earlier this week, there was a session, "Integrating High-Speed Rail with Airports, Issues and Implications for Airport Systems Planning."

Steve Van Beek from Leigh Fisher Associates gave a very interesting presentation about the impact of high speed rail on capacity at San Diego International Airport. Mr. Van Beek looked at various scenarios in the Southern California region. One of the most significant was a cap on operations at LAX. Since LAX handles such a large percent of the region's traffic, if that airport becomes constrained, the other airports in LA, Orange, and San Diego Counties quickly reach capacity.

Palomar Airport handles some regional jet traffic (I think on United) to Northern California. Expanding this service is good for about 1.5M passengers. Using larger aircraft can bring some additional capacity. Shifting modes to high speed rail was also a significant part of the solution to addressing travel needs for the San Diego region.

I will post a link to the presentation when I get a copy of the report.

Troubadour Jan 28, 2011 8:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RAlossi (Post 5142367)
Exactly. If the issue is either buy Japanese tech with Japanese funds (or Chinese tech with Chinese funds), or wait around for the Tea Party to send investment funds our way, I'm going with the former.

China is not a legitimate option given the national security context, but the Japanese offer is very encouraging. Their expertise with HSR is clearly the most developed in the world, and we could not ask for a more reliable partner. Provided there are no big pitfalls in the details, I can't think of a single significant reason to reject such an offer (should it be made officially at some point).

emathias Jan 28, 2011 9:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Troubadour (Post 5143376)
China is not a legitimate option given the national security context, but the Japanese offer is very encouraging. Their expertise with HSR is clearly the most developed in the world, and we could not ask for a more reliable partner. Provided there are no big pitfalls in the details, I can't think of a single significant reason to reject such an offer (should it be made officially at some point).

What is the national security implication of a country funding and designing vehicles that run on rails? I understand the political problems it might have, but national security? Really? I find that difficult to swallow.

bmfarley Jan 29, 2011 5:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5143420)
What is the national security implication of a country funding and designing vehicles that run on rails? I understand the political problems it might have, but national security? Really? I find that difficult to swallow.

National Security? I agree. I don't see a security threat directly related to a matter of designing, construction, or operating a high speed rail system.

On the other hand, I have interpreted and come to believe that our nations infrastructure and lack of investment in alternative transportation modes - particularly ones that are not reliant on foreign oil and energy - is indeed a threat to our national security.

We need more diversification in our fueling systems. Being overly dependent on foreign oil is a risk that this country should strive to avoid. Ignorance to this, and essentially burrying our heads in the sands, puts us at risk of conflict with other nations for those increasingly scare resources.

Ironically, China has become, or will become, one of our nations greatest competitors. Come to think of it, both China and the US have the same incentive to develop a high speed rail systems, regardless of national location, because it helps to minimize dependence on foreign oil... freeing it up for other uses that are elsewhere around the globe.

(Although, philosophically I am adverse to Chinese technology. My confidence is low in thier products and they may have have stollen technolgy to advance their own products)

tigernar Jan 29, 2011 7:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 5143420)
What is the national security implication of a country funding and designing vehicles that run on rails? I understand the political problems it might have, but national security? Really? I find that difficult to swallow.

I guess there is a far-fetched probability that they can make it self destructible in the event of war between the US and China or one of their allies so the US don't get the advantage a good transport system is in a war... But I somehow don't see that happening.

bmfarley Jan 30, 2011 6:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tigernar (Post 5144485)
I guess there is a far-fetched probability that they can make it self destructible in the event of war between the US and China or one of their allies so the US don't get the advantage a good transport system is in a war... But I somehow don't see that happening.

I agree. If that is fear, that is laughable in the sad sense that someone out there thinks it is possible. Bottomline, even if funded by China, the nuts and bolts of design would occur by Americans... folks that know local development and construction laws. Designs would also be reviewed by Americans, and, nothing would be permitted to be constructed until it is approved by Americans. Further, it would be built by Americans and materials, such as steel, would be certified for construction by Americans. And, Americans would be maintaining and operating the systems and running the trains. The only thing Chinese about it would be the initial funding, which would be paid back in time by Americans.

Perhaps the fear comes from the thought that the Tea Party actually makes some headway, and a lot of American beauracracy will be replaced by good-old Chinese know-how??? IMO, I don't think that will happen.

202_Cyclist Feb 21, 2011 3:38 PM

Dan Walters has another very critical editorial in today’s Sac Bee about HSR.

High-speed train money still cloudy
http://www.sacbee.com/2011/02/21/341...ll-cloudy.html

202_Cyclist Feb 22, 2011 4:37 PM

DesertXpress rail project going after tax dollars, after all (Las Vegas Sun)
 
DesertXpress rail project going after tax dollars, after all

DesertXpress rail project going after tax dollars, after all
High-speed rail company after nearly $5 billion loan

http://photos.lasvegassun.com/media/...b3328710e01e7b
Image courtesy of the Las Vegas Sun
The fully electric DesertXpress trains are expected to take passengers between Victorville, Calif., and Las Vegas in 84 minutes.

By Richard N. Velotta
Monday, Feb. 21, 2011


"Ever since plans to build a high-speed train from Las Vegas to Victorville, Calif., were unveiled, developers have been adamant about one point — they wouldn’t ask taxpayers to fund it.

But DesertXpress Enterprises has no qualms about borrowing from taxpayers — and borrowing big — for a project that skeptics say has little chance of gaining the ridership needed to pay for it.

The company has applied for a $4.9 billion loan through a federal program to construct what is billed as a $6 billion project. Since the plan was presented nearly two years ago, the cost estimate has ballooned from $4 billion.

The Federal Railroad Administration will hire an independent analyst to determine if ridership estimates, $50 one-way fares and other related revenue will be enough to repay the loan and prevent taxpayers from getting stuck with the bill..."

http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011...ars-after-all/

k1052 Feb 22, 2011 5:19 PM

If the link is built to Palmdale the trip from downtown LA to Vegas would take about 2.5 hours. It would be nice if the line from Victorville to Vegas would be able to take 200-225mph instead of just 150 to shave some more time off the trip.

Gordo Feb 22, 2011 5:22 PM

Surprise, surprise. I can't say that I'm thrilled about any government money going toward this project without some pretty significant guarantees.

However, I'd much rather see money going to DesertXpress over that ridiculous Vegas-Disneyland maglev "plan." At least DX has some potential use with CAHSR and other potential systems.

202_Cyclist Feb 22, 2011 6:23 PM

Gordo:
Quote:

Surprise, surprise. I can't say that I'm thrilled about any government money going toward this project without some pretty significant guarantees.

However, I'd much rather see money going to DesertXpress over that ridiculous Vegas-Disneyland maglev "plan." At least DX has some potential use with CAHSR and other potential systems.
I am completely supportive of the proposed route from San Diego to San Francisco and then Sacramento. I also think that, if done properly, a LA or Anaheim - Las Vegas route would be desirable. The DesertXpress, however, I view alternatively as either a joke or a scam. I understand the loans come from different pots of money but if the federal government is going to loan $5B, use it for LA's 30/10 Plan instead.

202_Cyclist Feb 22, 2011 6:35 PM

Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA) has introduced legislation, H.R. 613, that would amend the Buy America requirements for high speed rail and allow the Secretary of Transportation to waive the requirements “if the Secretary finds that including domestic material will increase the cost of the overall project by more than 25 percent.”

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/t2GPO/...112hr613ih.pdf

Gordo Feb 22, 2011 6:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5174675)
Gordo:


I am completely supportive of the proposed route from San Diego to San Francisco and then Sacramento. I also think that, if done properly, a LA or Anaheim - Las Vegas route would be desirable. The DesertXpress, however, I view alternatively as either a joke or a scam. I understand the loans come from different pots of money but if the federal government is going to loan $5B, use it for LA's 30/10 Plan instead.

Oh, definitely agreed.


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