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202_Cyclist Dec 27, 2011 5:56 PM

Plan to use Amtrak as fallback for high-speed rail criticized (LA Times)
 
Plan to use Amtrak as fallback for high-speed rail criticized
Federal rules require another use for the track if the high-speed project unravels. But Amtrak officials have concerns about changing their popular Central Valley route.

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-12/67003679.jpg
California High Speed Rail Authority shows an artist's rendering of a high-speed train speeding along the California coast. (California High Speed Rail Authority / AP Photo / February 20, 2009 --via the LA Times)

By Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian
Los Angeles Times
December 27, 2011

"When the Obama administration gave California $3.4 billion in startup money for a high-speed rail system, it insisted on a guarantee that the project would not become a white elephant — something critics could brand as a train to nowhere.

The first section of track had to run down the spine of the Central Valley and have another use, should the rest of the bullet train project collapse.

Those requirements are now at the center of an intensifying political battle, waged by critics who say the state's fallback plan to use a 130-mile stretch of track for slower Amtrak service is a sham because there's no guarantee the national rail service will ever use it..."

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...360,full.story

M II A II R II K Jan 6, 2012 7:08 PM

California high-speed rail funding could be in jeopardy


January 3, 2012

Read More: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...ate-bonds.html

Quote:

The Legislature should not authorize the issuance of $2.7 billion in bonds to start building California's $98.5-billion bullet train project, a state-appointed review panel says in a key report to be released later Tuesday. The conclusion by the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group is a serious blow to the project as it is currently designed because state law specifically empowered the group to make recommendation before any serious money on the train could be spent. Gov. Jerry Brown has said he intends to ask the Legislature this month to appropriate and sell bonds to raise billions of dollars to start construction of the project.

But that plan is facing an increasingly skeptical Legislature and general public. And now, lawmakers would have to disregard the recommendation of the very group it directed to guide it on the project if they decide to approve the bond issue. Voters authorized $9 billion in bonds for the bullet train project in 2008, but the measure required that the Peer Review Group sign off on the feasibility and reasonableness of the plan to build the rail system before the state issues the bonds. A recent poll indicates a sharp drop in public support for the project. The report was expected to be issued Tuesday afternoon, but the overall conclusions were described to The Times by members of the group.

.....



http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6...2ccf970d-640wi

jg6544 Jan 6, 2012 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5524626)
Commuter cars in 2035 will be almost entirely electric or hybrid. Even the oil companies include this in their oil usage projections (it's why they are putting money into solar and natural gas).

Let me know when there is one that will do 80 on the interstate and still have plenty of power to pass; also, one that can make it through the Grapevine.

202_Cyclist Jan 6, 2012 7:17 PM

Jerry Brown proposes folding High-Speed Rail into new agency (Sacramento Bee)
 
Jerry Brown proposes folding High-Speed Rail into new agency

By David Siders
Sacramento Bee
1/5/2012

"Gov. Jerry Brown reiterated his commitment to California's high-speed rail project today, but he also proposed additional oversight, seeking to fold the troubled High-Speed Rail Authority into a new state agency....

As part of a measure to consolidate state agencies and departments, Brown proposed creating a Transportation Agency, including the Rail Authority, the Highway Patrol and the departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles, among others..."

http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalert...ew-agency.html

jg6544 Jan 6, 2012 7:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5526796)
HSR would AT MOST save some money on maintaining I-5,

Just curious, how much of a profit did the 5 produce last year.

202_Cyclist Jan 6, 2012 7:19 PM

Why California needs high-speed rail (SF Chronicle)
 
Why California needs high-speed rail


By Peter Calthorpe
San Francisco Chronicle
January 5, 2012

"In 1956, the Federal Highway Act steered the American Dream away from small towns, streetcar suburbs and central cities toward today's auto suburb. It fit the time, shaped our communities, generated economic growth and changed our identity.

Today, our country desperately needs new infrastructure development that will create jobs and economic growth while updating the American Dream and ensuring its environmental future. The answer is high-speed rail.

More than a train ride is at stake; high-speed rail could catalyze the next generation of growth - one more oriented to who we are, what we can afford and what we really need. High-speed rail, along with innovative land use, will breed the kind of economic development and communities California is missing most - urban revitalization along with more walkable, affordable communities..."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...#ixzz1icASgkum

jg6544 Jan 6, 2012 7:26 PM

Some of you opponents of high-speed, intrastate rail, should go back and read your history, concentrating on the straw men that were thrown up by the SPRR (which just happened to operate all of the trans-Bay ferries) predicting absolute disaster and utter financial ruin if the Bay and Golden Gate bridges were built. I seem to recall the prediction that the bonds for the Golden Gate would never be paid off; they were paid off within about 25 years.

California faces some very simple realities - continued population growth, concentrated in the LA-SD, Bay Area-Sac, and Central Valley parts of the state; an air transportation "system" that is already saturated (and anyone who thinks new airports will be built in this state doesn't know the politics of the Bay Area and the parts of LA adjacent to LAX), and an aging Interstate that, contrary to what someone said, is often crowded with traffic. That doesn't even address the freeway system in LA, most of which we should just probably blow up. The only solution to intra-state, intercity transportation, particularly of people, in CA is high-speed rail. Nothing else is going to do the job.

hammersklavier Jan 6, 2012 8:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5540050)
Jerry Brown proposes folding High-Speed Rail into new agency

By David Siders
Sacramento Bee
1/5/2012

"Gov. Jerry Brown reiterated his commitment to California's high-speed rail project today, but he also proposed additional oversight, seeking to fold the troubled High-Speed Rail Authority into a new state agency....

As part of a measure to consolidate state agencies and departments, Brown proposed creating a Transportation Agency, including the Rail Authority, the Highway Patrol and the departments of Transportation and Motor Vehicles, among others..."

http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalert...ew-agency.html

It would also be smart to either make sure the commuter rail agencies (Caltrans, BART, Metrolink, etc.) work in tandem with, or are incorporated into, this new agency.

Organisation vor Elektronik vor Beton, after all, organization before electronics before concrete. The best way to plan.

skyscraperfan23 Jan 7, 2012 12:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 5540068)
Some of you opponents of high-speed, intrastate rail, should go back and read your history, concentrating on the straw men that were thrown up by the SPRR (which just happened to operate all of the trans-Bay ferries) predicting absolute disaster and utter financial ruin if the Bay and Golden Gate bridges were built. I seem to recall the prediction that the bonds for the Golden Gate would never be paid off; they were paid off within about 25 years.

California faces some very simple realities - continued population growth, concentrated in the LA-SD, Bay Area-Sac, and Central Valley parts of the state; an air transportation "system" that is already saturated (and anyone who thinks new airports will be built in this state doesn't know the politics of the Bay Area and the parts of LA adjacent to LAX), and an aging Interstate that, contrary to what someone said, is often crowded with traffic. That doesn't even address the freeway system in LA, most of which we should just probably blow up. The only solution to intra-state, intercity transportation, particularly of people, in CA is high-speed rail. Nothing else is going to do the job.

If we get the government out of the way and bring all of our troops home from around the world and spend all that money here, that would be great for a high speed rail.

jg6544 Jan 8, 2012 7:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by skyscraperfan23 (Post 5540567)
If we get the government out of the way and bring all of our troops home from around the world and spend all that money here, that would be great for a high speed rail.

Couldn't agree more about cutting military spending and putting that money to work here, but if the private sector wanted to step up and make the investment HSR requires, they would have done so years ago. Come to think of it, the transcontinental railroad wouldn't have gotten built in the 19th Century without significant financial support from the Federal government.

202_Cyclist Jan 8, 2012 2:34 PM

Keep California's bullet train on track (LA Times)
 
Keep California's bullet train on track
Despite recent negative reviews by experts, in the long term the rail project still makes sense.

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-12/67073137.jpg
California High Speed Rail Authority shows an artist's rendering of a high-speed train speeding along the California coast. (California High Speed Rail Authority / Associated Press)

Editorial
Los Angeles Times
January 7, 2012

"California's proposed bullet train took another shot this week when an independent review panel issued a report concluding that the project wasn't financially viable. This followed negative reviews from the state auditor, the inspector general, the legislative analyst and the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies.

It's hard to argue with such a distinguished group of experts, whose logic is unassailable. No source of funding has been identified for the project beyond the initial segment in Central California, they pointed out. Moreover, the location of that segment poses grave risks; if it were built near Los Angeles or San Francisco, it would still have major public benefits even if no more money could be found to extend it, but a spur from Fresno to Bakersfield alone would be a costly train to nowhere.

The trouble with this kind of expert analysis, though, is that it seldom takes politics into account. Planners didn't have much choice but to place the initial segment where they did, because to qualify for federal stimulus money they had to guarantee that construction would begin quickly, and the Central Valley portion was thought to be the only part of the line that would be ready to meet Washington's deadline. No source of future funding, such as a higher gasoline tax, has been proposed because the economy is rotten and voters would be unlikely to approve it right now. So does that mean the whole thing should be scrapped..."

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/...,5272840.story

202_Cyclist Jan 8, 2012 2:37 PM

I suppose the Kings County Supervisors, the Peninsula NIMBYs and the Ayn Rand-teabaggers are fine with the Central Valley continuing to have some of the nation's worst air quality.

Central Valley sees worst pollution levels in 12 years

Modesto Bee
January 8, 2012

http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/07/201...heartland.html

jg6544 Jan 8, 2012 4:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5541881)
I suppose the Kings County Supervisors, the Peninsula NIMBYs and the Ayn Rand-teabaggers are fine with the Central Valley continuing to have some of the nation's worst air quality.

Central Valley sees worst pollution levels in 12 years

Modesto Bee
January 8, 2012

http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/07/201...heartland.html

Dry winter so far all over California. It means dust in the SJV and there's not much that can be done about that.

Leo the Dog Jan 8, 2012 5:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 5541935)
Dry winter so far all over California. It means dust in the SJV and there's not much that can be done about that.

Not only dry, but windy too, kicking up particulates. High pressure in Nevada and Low Pressure in Arizona. Another Santa Ana set-up for today. Red Flag warnings are up again in LA County.

fflint Jan 8, 2012 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 5541935)
Dry winter so far all over California. It means dust in the SJV and there's not much that can be done about that.

If you're claiming this season's record-breaking pollution is not man-made so we can't do anything about it, then you are dead wrong.

We can and must continue to reduce the hazardous particulate matter emitted by fireplaces, factories, airplanes and automobiles that renders the air hazardous to breathe in stagnant winter weather patterns like this season, not only in the Central Valley but also in the Bay Area. Christmas Day as unbelievable--it was even worse than it looked, with air so filthy Oakland exceeded the federal maximum for PM 2.5 by a full 200%. HSR won't likely lower PM within metros, but it will reduce auto-emitted PM along its Central Valley route.

Leo the Dog Jan 9, 2012 1:48 AM

^^The environmental aspect won't get HSR built. So I wouldn't even bother arguing over it.

The financial aspect is the biggest hurdle and waning public opinion. Proponents should focus on the fact that future growth in CA will need/require another mode of transportation to aid the crowded air routes and highways.

fflint Jan 9, 2012 4:40 AM

Two arrows (^^) means you're responding to two posts above yours.

If you were responding to my post, I'll note I was just trying to keep the conversation on topic. There will absolutely be environmental benefits to building HSR as opposed to sticking with cars and airplanes as the state continues to grow. That's one good reason to support the project.

Leo the Dog Jan 9, 2012 4:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5542531)
Two arrows (^^) means you're responding to two posts above yours.

If you were responding to my post, I'll note I was just trying to keep the conversation on topic. There will absolutely be environmental benefits to building HSR as opposed to sticking with cars and airplanes as the state continues to grow. That's one good reason to support the project.

Yeah, I was responding to your post.

I totally agree with you that it's a transit alternative that will have the least effect on air pollution in CA and it is a reason to support the project. However, most people in CA/USA won't support spending $100 billion (with funding currently in question) for this reason alone. That's why I was saying that HSR supporters should focus on the over-crowding of current transit routes and infrastructure to gain support.

I would love to see HSR from SF - LA - SD, it makes too much sense.

pesto Jan 9, 2012 6:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo the Dog (Post 5542841)
Yeah, I was responding to your post.

I totally agree with you that it's a transit alternative that will have the least effect on air pollution in CA and it is a reason to support the project. However, most people in CA/USA won't support spending $100 billion (with funding currently in question) for this reason alone. That's why I was saying that HSR supporters should focus on the over-crowding of current transit routes and infrastructure to gain support.

I would love to see HSR from SF - LA - SD, it makes too much sense.

HSR and cars will use the same electric energy by the time it is built. The energy and resources discussion sites, oil company long-term plans, etc., believe the great majority of small commuter cars will be electric or hybrid.

Even if you believe that gasoline is here to stay for commuter cars (it's a free country) the number of people using transit WITHIN the LA and Bay areas dwarfs the LA-SF users. Moreover, the LA/IE have worse air than the Central Valley. Every environmental issue points to building locally and not in the Central Valley.

pesto Jan 9, 2012 6:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Leo the Dog (Post 5542400)
^^The environmental aspect won't get HSR built. So I wouldn't even bother arguing over it.

The financial aspect is the biggest hurdle and waning public opinion. Proponents should focus on the fact that future growth in CA will need/require another mode of transportation to aid the crowded air routes and highways.

True that finances are not there and public support non-existant. False that another mode is needed.

Excellent air connections with plenty of excess capacity in SJ, Oakland, Ontario and other airports. Three major uncongested highways (101, 5, 99) connect LA and the Bay, each serving many, many cities that HSR will miss altogether.

fflint Jan 10, 2012 3:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5543015)
Excellent air connections with plenty of excess capacity in SJ, Oakland, Ontario and other airports. Three major uncongested highways (101, 5, 99) connect LA and the Bay...

And all experts in the field agree that our existing infrastructure is insufficient to handle the increase in intra-state travel resulting from population growth in the coming decades. Doing nothing will result in a degraded, polluted, overcrowded third-world California--which is unacceptable out here in the real world. The choice is between a clean, modern high speed rail system and a much more expensive, dirtier freeway/runway expansion scheme:

Transit choice: $98.5B for high-speed rail vs. $170B for roads, runways
David Goll
Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"...the escalating costs of high-speed rail still pales in comparison to the $170 billion needed to add 2,300 lane-miles of freeway, four additional airport runways and 115 airline gates to accommodate the state’s increasing transportation needs."

electricron Jan 10, 2012 5:20 AM

Quote:

"...the escalating costs of high-speed rail still pales in comparison to the $170 billion needed to add 2,300 lane-miles of freeway, four additional airport runways and 115 airline gates to accommodate the state’s increasing transportation needs."
Let's get real, that is not the ultimate choice. Highways and Runways will be expanded in the future anyways, but maybe not as much if high speed rail is implemented. Therefore HSR isn't going to save California taxpayers a net of $80 Million (170-90=80). Whatever amount saved will be spent on Highways and Runways. So no money will be saved. What happens is $90 Million being repurposed and used on HSR instead of on Highways and Runways.

fflint Jan 10, 2012 6:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5543761)
So no money will be saved.

That is not obviously true.

electricron Jan 10, 2012 4:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5543835)
That is not obviously true.

No more false than suggesting that no additional money will ever be spent on Highways and Runways within miles (you suggest the buffer size) of the HSR corridor. If HSR is a success, traffic near the HSR corridor will increase, making it necessary to spend more money to handle that additional traffic. Who's going to want to take a train if you can get to the train station or park near it?

202_Cyclist Jan 10, 2012 4:28 PM

electricron:
Quote:

If HSR is a success, traffic near the HSR corridor will increase, making it necessary to spend more money to handle that additional traffic. Who's going to want to take a train if you can get to the train station or park near it?
This is perhaps the easiest criticism of high speed rail to dismiss. At the same time that CA's high speed rail investment is being built, metro regions throughout CA are going to be investing heavily in local rail projects, greatly improving mobility within CA's cities.

Just within the past few weeks, the Crenshaw/LAX light rail cleared a major federal environmental milestone. The BART extension to San Jose is set to get nearly $1B in federal money (http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_19711087

I'm sure you're aware of all the rail projects planned under the 30/10 Plan investments (http://www.metro.net/projects/30-10/). There are also numerous other bus rapid transit, light rail and commuter rail projects planned throughout the state for the coming decade (http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...nned-for-2012/).

202_Cyclist Jan 10, 2012 4:31 PM

High-speed rail sticks to Antelope Valley route (OC Register)
 
High-speed rail sticks to Antelope Valley route

By Ronald Campbell
January 9. 2012
OC Register

"After months of second thoughts, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has decided it was right the first time: The best northbound path from Los Angeles passes through Palmdale, not over the Grapevine.

The authority, which chose a zig-zag route via Palmdale in 2005, ordered a second look at the Grapevine route last May after getting sticker shock over the $15 billion cost estimate for building the train from Los Angeles to Bakersfield via Palmdale. A preliminary survey suggested that the Grapevine route would save $1 billion to $4 billion.

But the promised savings evaporated in more detailed studies released Monday. The authority published both a six-page study of the Grapevine alignment and a 78-page report on a Sylmar-to-Bakersfield route paralleling Interstate 5..."

http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/201...-route/146140/

The California High Speed Rail blog also has a more detailed discussion of this here: http://www.cahsrblog.com/2012/01/chs...ale-alignment/

electricron Jan 10, 2012 4:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5544118)
This is perhaps the easiest criticism of high speed rail to dismiss. At the same time that CA's high speed rail investment is being built, metro regions throughout CA are going to be investing heavily in local rail projects, greatly improving mobility within CA's cities.
Just within the past few weeks, the Crenshaw/LAX light rail cleared a major federal environmental milestone. The BART extension to San Jose is set to get nearly $1B in federal money.
I'm sure you're aware of all the rail projects planned under the 30/10 Plan investments. There are also numerous other bus rapid transit, light rail and commuter rail projects planned throughout the state for the coming decade.

Never-the-less, more money than the total stated for CHSR is going to have to be spend near the CHSR corridor, whether it is highways, runways, or railways. Therefore, CHSR is being dishonest suggesting they're saving upwards to $90 Million....
Golly, I could state the same for adding two lanes to I-5 in one "rural" county in Central California, and completely ignoring what must be spent in "suburban and urban" Northern and Southern California. Ignoring what must be spent elsewhere isn't stating the truth!

fflint Jan 10, 2012 6:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5544139)
Never-the-less, more money than the total stated for CHSR is going to have to be spend near the CHSR corridor

That is not obviously true. Please link to a credible source backing up your claim.

pesto Jan 10, 2012 7:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5543679)
And all experts in the field agree that our existing infrastructure is insufficient to handle the increase in intra-state travel resulting from population growth in the coming decades. Doing nothing will result in a degraded, polluted, overcrowded third-world California--which is unacceptable out here in the real world. The choice is between a clean, modern high speed rail system and a much more expensive, dirtier freeway/runway expansion scheme:

Transit choice: $98.5B for high-speed rail vs. $170B for roads, runways
David Goll
Silicon Valley / San Jose Business Journal
Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"...the escalating costs of high-speed rail still pales in comparison to the $170 billion needed to add 2,300 lane-miles of freeway, four additional airport runways and 115 airline gates to accommodate the state’s increasing transportation needs."

Please!!! The California government is rock-solid Democrat (gov, lt. gov, senate, assembly). Nevertheless, the the state auditor, the inspector general, the legislative analyst and the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies (as goofy left as anyone in the US) have ripped HSR a new one on the lack of any comprehensible business plan. Have you been reading the news for the last 2 years?

Your money comparisons are apples and oranges (again). The only likely candidate for expansion would be 5 and it is moving just fine; I drive it regularly and it does 80 the whole way. Money spent on other freeways around the state is not relevant to HSR.

As for air, Ontario is CLOSING a terminal for underuse; SJ has huge excess capacity; LAX is finishing an expansion; Burbank and OC move easily and are not crowded; Oakland has an advertising campaign since they have so much excess capacity.

I agree on the degradation and pollution; but they are in LA and the IE not in the CV. In any case, the contribution of LA-Bay traffic to pollution in the CV is microscopic. Not even measurable. Look to local city driving, local trucks, big rigs, industry and ag uses for the real culprits. And, as noted before, in 30 years when HSR is complete, commuter cars will be entirely electric or hybrid.

pesto Jan 10, 2012 7:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5544125)
High-speed rail sticks to Antelope Valley route

By Ronald Campbell
January 9. 2012
OC Register

"After months of second thoughts, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has decided it was right the first time: The best northbound path from Los Angeles passes through Palmdale, not over the Grapevine.

The authority, which chose a zig-zag route via Palmdale in 2005, ordered a second look at the Grapevine route last May after getting sticker shock over the $15 billion cost estimate for building the train from Los Angeles to Bakersfield via Palmdale. A preliminary survey suggested that the Grapevine route would save $1 billion to $4 billion.

But the promised savings evaporated in more detailed studies released Monday. The authority published both a six-page study of the Grapevine alignment and a 78-page report on a Sylmar-to-Bakersfield route paralleling Interstate 5..."

http://taxdollars.ocregister.com/201...-route/146140/

The California High Speed Rail blog also has a more detailed discussion of this here: http://www.cahsrblog.com/2012/01/chs...ale-alignment/

This is a correct move. The High Desert will have the people. Santa Clarita-Sylmar s/b a separate connector to HSR (along with Oxnard-Camarillo-Woodland Hills-Burbank).

fflint Jan 10, 2012 7:54 PM

If you can provide any credible source supporting your assertion that existing road and runway infrastructure shall, 20-30 years from now, adequately handle the increased intra-state travel produced by ongoing population growth then please do so.

Or is it that you are totally okay with spending nearly twice as much on freeways and runways as we will on high-speed rail, because you just feel better about one kind of government transportation spending over another--even if it costs more and pollutes more? We know electric trains pollute less than cars and airplanes right now, and that electric trains will remain a clean technology regardless of what other modes can or cannot attain. You like to assert all cars will be electric by the projected opening of CAHSR, which is not obviously true, and argue the state must go all-in and commit to today's petroleum-based transportation modes without any certainty the airports and long haul freeways will pollute the air any less in the future than they do now. They promised us flying cars in the future, too, and we would have been stupid to stake our state's air quality and transportation infrastructure investments on such baseless fantasies.

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5544355)
Please!!! The California government is rock-solid Democrat (gov, lt. gov, senate, assembly). Nevertheless, the the state auditor, the inspector general, the legislative analyst and the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies (as goofy left as anyone in the US) have ripped HSR a new one on the lack of any comprehensible business plan. Have you been reading the news for the last 2 years?

Your money comparisons are apples and oranges (again). The only likely candidate for expansion would be 5 and it is moving just fine; I drive it regularly and it does 80 the whole way. Money spent on other freeways around the state is not relevant to HSR.

As for air, Ontario is CLOSING a terminal for underuse; SJ has huge excess capacity; LAX is finishing an expansion; Burbank and OC move easily and are not crowded; Oakland has an advertising campaign since they have so much excess capacity.

I agree on the degradation and pollution; but they are in LA and the IE not in the CV. In any case, the contribution of LA-Bay traffic to pollution in the CV is microscopic. Not even measurable. Look to local city driving, local trucks, big rigs, industry and ag uses for the real culprits. And, as noted before, in 30 years when HSR is complete, commuter cars will be entirely electric or hybrid.


202_Cyclist Jan 10, 2012 8:15 PM

fflint:
Quote:

If you can provide any credible source supporting your assertion that existing road and runway infrastructure shall, 20-30 years from now, adequately handle the increased intra-state travel produced by ongoing population growth then please do so.

I think you mean 60-70 years from now-- that is the planning timeframe for a project of this size. The updated high speed rail business plan estimates construction will be completed by 2030-33 and this will have a 40-50 year lifecycle, so that is 2070-80.

It is extremely difficult to predict population or travel behavior that far out but I think it is safe to say that the existing infrastructure in 2012 is nowhere near adequate for the population of 2070.

pesto Jan 11, 2012 6:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5544406)
If you can provide any credible source supporting your assertion that existing road and runway infrastructure shall, 20-30 years from now, adequately handle the increased intra-state travel produced by ongoing population growth then please do so.

Or is it that you are totally okay with spending nearly twice as much on freeways and runways as we will on high-speed rail, because you just feel better about one kind of government transportation spending over another--even if it costs more and pollutes more? We know electric trains pollute less than cars and airplanes right now, and that electric trains will remain a clean technology regardless of what other modes can or cannot attain. You like to assert all cars will be electric by the projected opening of CAHSR, which is not obviously true, and argue the state must go all-in and commit to today's petroleum-based transportation modes without any certainty the airports and long haul freeways will pollute the air any less in the future than they do now. They promised us flying cars in the future, too, and we would have been stupid to stake our state's air quality and transportation infrastructure investments on such baseless fantasies.

I'm really not interested in beating on poor HSR any more. The good news is that the current analyses seem to be focusing on building-out the LA and Bay Areas where there are real problems.

If you are sincere about air pollution, two thoughts: First, pollution is most common in LA, the IE, the South Bay (SJ) and inland North Bay. These would all be helped by building local HSR over the next 5-10 years. Putting anything in the CV that carries meaningful traffic would take 30 years (you would have to complete SF, SJ, LA and CV to get substantial traffic). By then HSR doesn't help anything because all the commuting cars are electric (again, excepting SUV's, trucks and such, which don't compete against HSR).

Second, even if the above weren't true, LA-Bay traffic is immaterial to the CV. You need to address local car traffic, trucks, industrial and ag uses if you are really interested in reducing pollution there. (Interestingly, electric vehicles will have their big impact in the CV from reducing pollution with respect to local driving within the Bako, Fresno, Stockton, etc., metros, but that's not meaningfully related to HSR.)

jg6544 Jan 11, 2012 7:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5544355)

As for air, Ontario is CLOSING a terminal for underuse; SJ has huge excess capacity; LAX is finishing an expansion; Burbank and OC move easily and are not crowded; Oakland has an advertising campaign since they have so much excess capacity.

The problems with your argument are as follows:

1) Ontario is closing a terminal because the vast majority of people in the LA area aren't going to drive all the way out to Ontario to catch a flight. For me, the drive would be longer than the flight if I were going anywhere west of Chicago. Moreover, the airlines won't use airports like Ontario because there are no connecting flights in most instances. Airports like LAX are hubs; airports like Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach, and John Wayne are not. That is why LAX has more traffic than all of them put together and always will.

2) LAX is enlarging the international terminal but the airport is still a mess. The 405 is a semi-permanent parking lot and always will be; mass transit access is limited; parking is expensive and the remote lots add too much time to the trip; the airport is too large and even the "upgraded" terminals are like bus stations. It's like its own third-world country.

3) In the Bay Area, SFO is the hub; San Jose, in spite of serving Silicon Valley, can't seem to attract carriers or flights, probably because all of the connections are at SFO. Oakland is in the middle of a damned slum. I have a friend at Berkeley who is more than happy to take BART all the way over to SFO just to avoid Oakland and the likelihood of getting mugged waiting for the shuttle from the BART station to the terminal. The two big advantages SFO has over LAX are (1) accessibility to mass transit and (2) relative compactness. But if you think SFO will EVER be able to expand its capacity, I want some of what you're smoking.

There is one airport in LA and there is one in the Bay Area and that's how it's always going to be.

fflint Jan 11, 2012 9:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5545756)
LA-Bay traffic is immaterial to the CV. You need to address local car traffic, trucks, industrial and ag uses if you are really interested in reducing pollution there.

North-south freeway trips within California strongly affect Central Valley air quality, and CAHSR can be part of the solution to bad air in the middle of the state.

The Central Valley has endured seven weeks of record pollution this winter, and the #2 contributor to the hazardous PM 2.5 readings is, according to ABC News, long-haul trucks rolling up and down the 5 and 99 freeways:

"Cutting through the valley are the state's two main north-south highway corridors, the routes for nearly all long-distance tractor trailer rigs, the No. 2 source of particulate pollution in the valley." http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/r...tland-15311690

CAHSR can replace some of those polluting trucks. The CAHSR Authority has already expressed interest in carrying "small packages, parcels, letters, or any other freight that would not exceed typical passenger loads" in "either specialized freight cars on passenger trains or on dedicated lightweight freight trains" with the "same performance characteristics as the passenger equipment....without adjustment to the passenger operational plan or modification to the passenger stations." http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/technology.aspx

CAHSR freight service would, the Authority says, work especially well for moving "medium-weight high-value, time-sensitive goods (such as electronic equipment or perishable items) on the high-speed train track...overnight when it wouldn’t interfere with passenger operations..." Source: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/technology.aspx

To recap, the facts show long-haul trucks plying the 5 and 99 freeways between Northern and Southern California are the #2 cause of hazardous Central Valley air pollution this winter; CAHSR can take some of those polluting trucks off the congested north-south freeways in the Central Valley.

You only discredit yourself when you continue to post opinions rooted not in the facts, but rooted only in your own biases and wishful thinking.

electricron Jan 12, 2012 5:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5546014)
CAHSR can replace some of those polluting trucks. The CAHSR Authority has already expressed interest in carrying "small packages, parcels, letters, or any other freight that would not exceed typical passenger loads" in "either specialized freight cars on passenger trains or on dedicated lightweight freight trains" with the "same performance characteristics as the passenger equipment....without adjustment to the passenger operational plan or modification to the passenger stations." http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/technology.aspx

CAHSR freight service would, the Authority says, work especially well for moving "medium-weight high-value, time-sensitive goods (such as electronic equipment or perishable items) on the high-speed train track...overnight when it wouldn’t interfere with passenger operations..." Source: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/technology.aspx

To recap, the facts show long-haul trucks plying the 5 and 99 freeways between Northern and Southern California are the #2 cause of hazardous Central Valley air pollution this winter; CAHSR can take some of those polluting trucks off the congested north-south freeways in the Central Valley.

You only discredit yourself when you continue to post opinions rooted not in the facts, but rooted only in your own biases and wishful thinking.

Get real, the very minute the UP or BNSF believe CHSR will move freight, and become their competitors, that's when they start tripling and quadrupling costs associated with the construction of CHSR on their right-of-ways. Look at what the freights did to Amtrak trains a decade ago for some history. History is better than facts - especially when you completely and purposely overlooked it. If you look at recent history, you'll know that the freights will take drastic steps to prevent it, possibly kicking commuter rail off their tracks in retaliation.

And we all know that heavy freight railcars are very, very, very bad for the material condition of HSR tracks.

202_Cyclist Jan 12, 2012 6:35 PM

Tulare County supervisors unanimously oppose high-speed rail (Fresno Bee)
 
Tulare County supervisors unanimously oppose high-speed rail

By Lewis Griswold
The Fresno Bee
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012

"The Tulare County Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to oppose the planned bullet train through the Valley.

By taking a stand, the county joins Kings County and the city of Bakersfield in opposing the planned high-speed rail project from Los Angeles to San Francisco via the Central Valley.

The rail project, estimated at $98 billion, is too expensive, supervisors said..."

http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/10/...animously.html

202_Cyclist Jan 12, 2012 6:40 PM

High-speed rail's downtown Fresno station plans not causing much of stir
 
High-speed rail's downtown Fresno station plans not causing much of stir


By Russell Clemings
The Fresno Bee
Saturday, Jan. 07, 2012

"High-speed rail may someday be the salvation of Fresno's beleaguered downtown.

From the look of things so far, though, you wouldn't know it.

Last month's designation by the California High-Speed Rail Authority of a station site at Mariposa and G streets has been met with a yawn by the local real estate community..."

http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/07/...ion-plans.html

pesto Jan 12, 2012 6:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jg6544 (Post 5545839)
The problems with your argument are as follows:

1) Ontario is closing a terminal because the vast majority of people in the LA area aren't going to drive all the way out to Ontario to catch a flight. For me, the drive would be longer than the flight if I were going anywhere west of Chicago. Moreover, the airlines won't use airports like Ontario because there are no connecting flights in most instances. Airports like LAX are hubs; airports like Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach, and John Wayne are not. That is why LAX has more traffic than all of them put together and always will.

2) LAX is enlarging the international terminal but the airport is still a mess. The 405 is a semi-permanent parking lot and always will be; mass transit access is limited; parking is expensive and the remote lots add too much time to the trip; the airport is too large and even the "upgraded" terminals are like bus stations. It's like its own third-world country.

3) In the Bay Area, SFO is the hub; San Jose, in spite of serving Silicon Valley, can't seem to attract carriers or flights, probably because all of the connections are at SFO. Oakland is in the middle of a damned slum. I have a friend at Berkeley who is more than happy to take BART all the way over to SFO just to avoid Oakland and the likelihood of getting mugged waiting for the shuttle from the BART station to the terminal. The two big advantages SFO has over LAX are (1) accessibility to mass transit and (2) relative compactness. But if you think SFO will EVER be able to expand its capacity, I want some of what you're smoking.

There is one airport in LA and there is one in the Bay Area and that's how it's always going to be.

Sorry, almost every word is wrong or just hateful venting. LAX and SFO are the great national and international airports but not so much for flights within Califronia.

Oakland has MORE flights to the LA area than SF does. Your friend in Berkeley needs to get over his racism. Much of my family lives in Oakland and they fly to NY, Hawaii and all over California without going through any worse slums than you would going to Candlestick, ATT, Staples, Dodger Stadium, etc. In any event, most traffic comes by car.

SJ has just built an enormous new terminal and is growing fast. You'll be pleased to know it is not in a ghetto.

Similarly, the other LA area airports combined have far more flights to the Bay than LAX does.

This is what make HSR a loser for these trips. It's already easy to find an airport close to you (Burbank, LB, Ontario, LAX, OC). But HSR will only offer "non-stops" from Union Station (and these will actually have stops).

Finally, I'm not sure what the LAX vs. SFO issue is about.

pesto Jan 12, 2012 7:07 PM

Fflint: I would love to see all the trucks between LA and the Bay get onto rail.

But that is not relevant to HSR. We're talking about 350 miles, so I question how much product there is that would be too urgent for normal rail but couldn't use air. I couldn't find this analysis in their business plan so I'm thinking it is not material (and I doubt that those 18-wheelers are carrying "small packages, parcels and letters").

The possibility that LA to Bay trucks on 5 and 99 are at all comparable to the pollution generated by the 8M or so people living, working and building in Sacto., Fresno, Bako, etc., strikes me as absurd. Remember that the trucks are also going to Oregon, Washington and Canada to the north; and Arizona, Texas, etc., to the south. You often see chicken from Arkansas, industrial equipment from Ohio, lumber from Oregon, etc. These are not affected by California HSR at all.

202_Cyclist Jan 13, 2012 4:16 AM

California bullet train CEO, chairman stepping down (LA TImes)
 
California bullet train CEO, chairman stepping down


By Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian
January 12, 2012
Los Angeles Times

"The chief executive of the state’s high-speed rail agency resigned Thursday amid growing criticism of the $98.5-billion bullet train project and declining public support for the proposal.

Roelof van Ark, 59, announced his departure in a major shakeup that included the replacement of attorney Thomas Umberg, a former state legislator, as chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors.

Umberg will recommend that Dan Richard, who was recently appointed to the board by Gov. Jerry Brown, assume his leadership role. Van Ark said he will leave in two months, while Umberg will step down in February..."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...ing-down-.html

fflint Jan 13, 2012 4:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5547443)
I would love....I question....I couldn't find...I'm thinking....strikes me as....

I don't care what you're feeling or wondering or how the truth strikes you, I care about the facts. I linked to the CAHSR Authority, ABC News, etc. to back up what I was saying about the 5 and 99 freeways being the #2 cause of this season's record, hazardous air pollution and CAHSR's published interest in picking up some intra-state freight business from high-pollution trucks.

fflint Jan 13, 2012 4:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5547327)
Get real....that's when they start....will take drastic steps...possibly kicking commuter rail off their tracks...

Conjecture is never a compelling argument. You declare these things will happen, but that is not obviously true, regardless of what has happened in the past. All you predict might come to pass--or it might not. We don't know either way.

Quote:

History is better than facts
That is obviously false. If you're trying to put together a compelling logical argument about anything, you must provide true premises and sound logic. History can inform your premises, but predictions about the future--no matter on what they are based--are never as good a premise as a fact is. Period. Logic has rules. You don't have to follow them, but then you're just talking shit and nobody need pay attention.

Quote:

And we all know that heavy freight railcars are very, very, very bad for the material condition of HSR tracks.
Who said heavy freight railcars would share CAHSR rail lines? I quoted and linked to the Authority talking about weight specifically.

pesto Jan 13, 2012 7:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5548195)
California bullet train CEO, chairman stepping down


By Dan Weikel and Ralph Vartabedian
January 12, 2012
Los Angeles Times

"The chief executive of the state’s high-speed rail agency resigned Thursday amid growing criticism of the $98.5-billion bullet train project and declining public support for the proposal.

Roelof van Ark, 59, announced his departure in a major shakeup that included the replacement of attorney Thomas Umberg, a former state legislator, as chairman of the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors.

Umberg will recommend that Dan Richard, who was recently appointed to the board by Gov. Jerry Brown, assume his leadership role. Van Ark said he will leave in two months, while Umberg will step down in February..."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lano...ing-down-.html

This is a good move. Another useful exercise would be to look into the funding of the original intiative campaign and the web sites that have been pushing the HSR agenda. This might help sort out what sorts of political stuff was going on in the background, since on its face the plans did not make much sense.

202_Cyclist Jan 14, 2012 3:44 PM

Brown enlarges his role in California's foundering bullet train project (LA Times)
 
Brown enlarges his role in California's foundering bullet train project

With the $100-billion project at a critical juncture, the governor puts his people in key positions.

By Ralph Vartabedian and Dan Weikel
Los Angeles Times
January 14, 2012

http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2012-01/67368327.jpg
Roelof van Ark is stepping down as head of the California High Speed Rail Authority. (Image courtesy of the LA Times)

"A surprise shake-up of senior leaders at California's bullet-train agency this week was partly Gov. Jerry Brown's response to a growing crisis of confidence and credibility in recent months that has threatened the political viability of the project.

As criticism of the project has intensified, Brown has moved to exert more direct control, installing two representatives on the board of the California High Speed Rail Authority and, on Thursday, playing at least a peripheral role in replacing the authority's chief executive, Roelof van Ark. Several state government sources said Van Ark, an engineering manager and high-speed rail expert, had become personally frustrated and lost the confidence of some key legislators.

Brown is under pressure from unions, engineering firms, big-city mayors and the Obama administration to stabilize and press ahead on a nearly $100-billion project that would be the biggest in California's lofty history of extraordinary public works gambles. With so much at stake, Brown is putting his own people in charge, although their ability to quickly reverse the damage of a wave of negative outside reviews of the project remains unclear..."

202_Cyclist Jan 15, 2012 1:57 PM

Spain's high-speed rail system offers lessons for California (Sacramento Bee)
 
Spain's high-speed rail system offers lessons for California

By Tim Sheehan
Sacramento Bee
Sunday, Jan. 15, 2012

"MADRID – It's 8 a.m. at the Puerto de Atocha train station in central Madrid. Business travelers armed with cellphones and laptops, and pleasure travelers toting cameras and carry-on bags, make their way through security to board the high-speed trains that connect Spain's capital to cities across the nation.

The sprawling station, which dates to the 1890s, serves not only the AVE, or Alta Velocidad Española (Spanish high-speed) trains, but also the city's metro subway and commuter trains. It sits amid a bustling district of offices, museums, hotels and other businesses.

This is the vision shared by backers of California's proposed, but controversial, high-speed rail system – and there are lessons that California can learn from Spain's 20-year history with high-speed trains.."

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/15/418...te-offers.html

http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2012/...4QoeP.Xl.4.gif
Image courtesy of the Sacramento Bee.

SD_Phil Jan 15, 2012 7:01 PM

^I remember a lot of early comparisons between CA and Spain on several different railway projects (and between LA and Madrid I think for their respective metros).

As much as I want high speed rail, I noticed that the chart did not compare the costs of building the lines in Spain with the costs of building the lines in CA. I don't know much about this subject other than I keep hearing an estimate in the high $90 billions range for the CA network. How much (adjusted) did it cost Spain? Anyone have any numbers?

Innsertnamehere Jan 15, 2012 7:47 PM

it would be a lot cheaper due to cheaper labor. it would probably be $5-10 an hour there, but califoria will be paying $30.

Ragnar Jan 17, 2012 11:50 PM

L.A. Times:

Doubts Cast On Cost Estimates For High-Speed Rail Alternatives
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...,4293248.story

Not surprising that it appears the cost estimates for building HSR alternatives have been severely exagerrated by HSR proponents.

JDRCRASH Jan 18, 2012 2:59 AM

Notice how the opponents are so strategical in their attempt to kill the project.


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