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-   -   California High Speed Rail Thread (https://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=180558)

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 5:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Car(e)-Free LA (Post 8473996)
No, you don't. The HSR in the Netherlands isn't used for intra-Netherlands travel: it's used to get to places a few hundred miles away: like Paris. SF-LA is 2:40 HSR, 4:00 door to door. Plane door to door is something like 4:20, whereas driving is about 8:00 door to door. Obviously the train, with ~$60-$80 fares, is the best option. Also, electrified HSR trains have no problem going through mountains at >180MPH, it's just that there haven't been many opportunities to build HSR through mountains yet in the USA; hence, not many routes. It's done all the time in other countries.

LOl not it sint you cant even get a direct train from Tokyo to the mountain areas of central japan unless you go AROUND the mountains. There are few trains that go through mountains, why do you think the shipping rail goes throught eh flat parts of Socal and Arizona to get back east and not through the Rockies. Why do you think the Swiss, itallians and Germans have spend untold billions on Tunnels under tha alps rather than OVER them?

California didnt fail at its rail becasue of lack of will, or becasue of lack of money or becasue of some "evil" conspiracy to ruin the future by those dastardly conservatives (in cali aparently lol)

It failed becasyue HRS across such a massive mountainous, empty area in a country with good road infrasturcure and cheap energy has no bennifit and a massive cost.

In the end thats why it will not work.

BrownTown Feb 14, 2019 5:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8473986)
It will be revived when a Democratic, hopefully “far left” (but centrist by international standards) president is elected along with majorities in the senate and House, next year.

Western Europe isn't the whole world, lol.

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 5:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8473986)
It will be revived when a Democratic, hopefully “far left” (but centrist by international standards) president is elected along with majorities in the senate and House, next year.

If the dotard can waste billions on a useless monument, surely we can “waste” billions on an HSR system.

Even if "dotard" were to lose, which I wouldn't count on, why would that change the HSR situation in California.

The HSR plans began during the bush years, started in earnest during Obama, and continued during Trumps presidency.

In fact the entire Cali HSR plan has little to do with the national executive at all. Why would a far left president...and I suppose congress too in this fantasy... give the wealthiest state in the country more money to build an unnecessary train?

LosAngelesSportsFan Feb 14, 2019 6:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Illithid Dude (Post 8473189)
Honestly, some private company should just build between LA and San Diego. Imagine the use that would get, with thirty minute end to end times.

i would have used it 3 times over the last 2 weeks if it was built

LosAngelesSportsFan Feb 14, 2019 6:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8473466)
People its not that depressing, The places where high speed rail is built are vastly more densely populated than the USA.

If you want express trains in specific metro areas that makes sense, a statewide Cali bullet train through the central valley and hundreds of miles of rural or even empty land.

Pop per square mile:

Japan 339
UK 650
Netherlands 491
China 142
Germany 235

USA: 84

Building a bullet train across hundreds of miles of rural California was a BAD IDEA from the get go.

This is just a ridiculous post. Really stupid.
Also, have you been on the bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto? Nothing but empty land

The North One Feb 14, 2019 6:59 PM

This is horrible and there's no way they're getting more federal funding with this administration. Now if there's ever another attempt at HSP in other parts of the country people can just point to what an incompetent disaster California is, thanks.

jmecklenborg Feb 14, 2019 7:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8473979)

Do you have any concept of how much more compact, population dense and FLAT the netherlands is than the proposed system in california.

Do you have any idea how slow a train must go through mountains, how innificient they become when they hit grade in the track? Why do you think train routs through mountains TO THIS DAY are rare and slow?

You really have no idea what you are talking about do you?


The whole reason why HSR in California makes sense is because it is so cheap and easy to build a 200+ mile stretch of 200mph track across the pancake flat Central Valley. The entire Central Valley, over a vast area, varies only slightly in elevation between about 300 feet and about 500 feet above sea level.

The HSR in Spain between Madrid and Barcelona travels over very similar flat, arid terrain. I've seen it with my own eyes.

The TGV in France travels up the side of a very big hill (maybe a mountain) north of Lyon and pops out the other side A 200mph train has so much momentum that it is able to largely coast uphill for a mile or two.

The entire Central Valley run -- roughly 200 miles -- will only be a fractional expense for the entire HSR network. England built the Chunnel but the trains initially terminated in a minor London Station. They had to build a major tunnel under the city to bring them into St. Pancras.

Maybe they should have just abandoned the entire project mid-Chunnel since they didn't have the cash to build the approach to St. Pancras simultaneously.

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 7:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan (Post 8474279)
This is just a ridiculous post. Really stupid.
Also, have you been on the bullet train between Tokyo and Kyoto? Nothing but empty land

That is simply untrue there are multiple cities and towns along the route, just becasue it appeard to you to be rural doesnt make that so, the populaiton along that thin costal strip is far higher than the population between LA and San Francsico.

But besides that notice the terrain, thin flat costal strip that literally avoids any elevation cahnge if possible.

http://www.tb-kumano.jp/files/9414/0...o-overview.jpg

Not to mention this is in a country where people live in small dense apartments, usually without cars and if they do have cars the cost of petroleum imported from the other side of the world is prohibitively expensive compare to the USA.

The route in Californai has to cross multiple mountain ranges and through extremely hilly terrain over a much farther distence in less populated areas with little demand for a train due to cheap oil and cars.

This isnt difficult to understand you guys just really really want trains becasue they are cool and, I suppose you had a good time when you went to europe that one time taking the train around Belgium or whatever.

You arent using your brains when considering this idiotic plan.

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 7:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 8474318)
The whole reason why HSR in California makes sense is because it is so cheap and easy to build a 200+ mile stretch of 200mph track across the pancake flat Central Valley. The entire Central Valley, over a vast area, varies only slightly in elevation between about 300 feet and about 500 feet above sea level.

The HSR in Spain between Madrid and Barcelona travels over very similar flat, arid terrain. I've seen it with my own eyes.

The TGV in France travels up the side of a very big hill (maybe a mountain) north of Lyon and pops out the other side A 200mph train has so much momentum that it is able to largely coast uphill for a mile or two.

The entire Central Valley run -- roughly 200 miles -- will only be a fractional expense for the entire HSR network. England built the Chunnel but the trains initially terminated in a minor London Station. They had to build a major tunnel under the city to bring them into St. Pancras.

Maybe they should have just abandoned the entire project mid-Chunnel since they didn't have the cash to build the approach to St. Pancras simultaneously.

Yeah they started in the central valley becasue it was the cheapest, unfortunately the train is leading from nowehrre to nowhere = No demand for a train.

You guys arent considerign the factors that make trains in Europe desirable.

AND EVEN THEN those trains in Europe and Asia are at massive public expense that most americans balk at becasue we dont NESECITATE them as many coutnries do.

mt_climber13 Feb 14, 2019 7:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8474115)
Even if "dotard" were to lose, which I wouldn't count on, why would that change the HSR situation in California.

The HSR plans began during the bush years, started in earnest during Obama, and continued during Trumps presidency.

In fact the entire Cali HSR plan has little to do with the national executive at all. Why would a far left president...and I suppose congress too in this fantasy... give the wealthiest state in the country more money to build an unnecessary train?

More like.. let us keep more of our money for our own state’s needs ( we send much more tax money to the federal government to be dispersed to other states than we receive)

Obama was nowhere near far left. Obamacare, his supposed far left commmunist boogeyman healthcare plan, was a conservative Heritage Foundation idea implemented in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney. So after Carter we’ve had 6 republican presidents in a row (some more sane than others).

When a REAL leftist gets in, like FDR, tax the fuck out of billionaires and pay for HSR and mass rail infrastructure with that- which is how the interstate highway system was built (and the top marginal tax rate was 90%)

And the fact that you say ppl in Japan don’t drive cars when Japan has the world’s leading auto manufacturers and that it works for them because they live in small apartments.. bro have you even been to California??? I mean, outside of Redding? My first apartment in sF I could reach my arms and touch both walls and my bedroom was under my bed. You’re embarrassing yourself.

SoCalKid Feb 14, 2019 7:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8473960)
Why would anyone use HSR to go from bakersfied to Merced when its cheaper and not much slower and vastly more expensive?

why would you pay for a 5 hour trip between LA and san Fran via train when you can take a plane for under 100 dollars.

Take into account the infrastructure cost (77 billion dollars) / 40 million Cali citizens= $1925

You can pay for many tanks of gas and many plane tickets for every citizens to get them between LA and San Francsico.

The project was totally unfeasable.

Something about this project just makes people invent wildly inaccurate facts, I don't get it. The train, as currently planned, would be 3 hours, not 5. I'm not even going to address the rest of the nonsense you've been spouting, it's just not worth it.

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 7:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8474346)
More like.. let us keep more of our money for our own state’s needs ( we send much more tax money to the federal government to be dispersed to other states than we receive)

Obama was nowhere near far left. Obamacare, his supposed far left commmunist boogeyman healthcare plan, was a conservative Heritage Foundation idea implemented in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney. So after Carter we’ve had 6 republican presidents in a row (some more sane than others).

When a REAL leftist gets in, like FDR, tax the fuck out of billionaires and pay for HSR and mass rail infrastructure with that- which is how the interstate highway system was built (and the top marginal tax rate was 90%)

1. this was already primarily funded by california itself your first point is nonsense.

2. Nobody said he was

3. WHEN A "REAL leftist" gets in there is no garuntee he is going to fund this type of project

4. maybe Novo-FDR can inter American citizens indefinately without cause as well !!

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 7:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SoCalKid (Post 8474361)
Something about this project just makes people invent wildly inaccurate facts, I don't get it. The train, as currently planned, would be 3 hours, not 5. I'm not even going to address the rest of the nonsense you've been spouting, it's just not worth it.

Nonsense, thats what the articles say about the cost of the train.

SoCalKid Feb 14, 2019 7:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8474363)
Nonsense, thats what the articles say about the cost of the train.

I'm talking about the travel time, not cost.... :shrug:

mt_climber13 Feb 14, 2019 7:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8474362)
1. this was already primarily funded by california itself your first point is nonsense.

2. Nobody said he was

3. WHEN A "REAL leftist" gets in there is no garuntee he is going to fund this type of project

4. maybe Novo-FDR can inter American citizens indefinately without cause as well !!

We’ll build it( I mean, we ARE building it right now as we speak). Just need to regroup and get the costs down. Which is exactly what’s happening now as Newsom said in another statement yesterday as the wildly histrionic mainstream media and bloggers completely blew what he first said out of proportion.

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 7:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8474377)
We’ll build it( I mean, we ARE building it right now as we speak). Just need to regroup and get the costs down. Which is exactly what’s happening now as Newsom said in another statement yesterday as the wildly histrionic mainstream media and bloggers completely blew what he first said out of proportion.

I wouldnt hold my breath for the myriad of reasons I laid out before. The state is better off building rail networks for the Bay Are+ Sacramento and LA-San Diego mega regions.

Then some decades down the line, when the state has many millions more people and severley denser cities to build conencting bullet trains between the exsisting commuter networks.

jg6544 Feb 14, 2019 7:51 PM

I wish they were going to complete it as planned because it would have enabled me to avoid the cesspool that is LAX. The last six trips (3 round-trips) I have taken between LA and San Francisco would have been shorter had I driven, calculating them door-to-door. Flights are chronically late leaving and arriving at both airports. SFO was shut down yesterday due to rain.

Unfortunately, the politicians got hold of a good idea and ruined it.

mt_climber13 Feb 14, 2019 8:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8474393)
I wouldnt hold my breath for the myriad of reasons I laid out before. The state is better off building rail networks for the Bay Are+ Sacramento and LA-San Diego mega regions.

Then some decades down the line, when the state has many millions more people and severley denser cities to build conencting bullet trains between the exsisting commuter networks.

Well yes, this is the plan, isn't it? I don't think anybody really believes that HSR will be fully built out in California within the next 40 years. Even with Dem leaders at federal level it will still be a long time before it's all built out.

I agree that light rail and heavy rail upgrades and expansions in Sacramento, SF, Oakland, San Jose, LA, and San Diego should be prioritized right now above all (The central valley seems completely against mass transit).

I love traveling to DC and using their subway system. It makes everything in California look like a complete joke built by a 9 year old with legos.

Obadno Feb 14, 2019 8:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8474443)
Well yes, this is the plan, isn't it? I don't think anybody really believes that HSR will be fully built out in California within the next 40 years. Even with Dem leaders at federal level it will still be a long time before it's all built out.

I agree that light rail and heavy rail upgrades and expansions in Sacramento, SF, Oakland, San Jose, LA, and San Diego should be prioritized right now above all (The central valley seems completely against mass transit).

I love traveling to DC and using their subway system. It makes everything in California look like a complete joke built by a 9 year old with legos.

NO that wasnt the plan which is why it failed, their plan was to build a train from Bakersfield to Merced

Then expand it to LA and San Francsico by 2030

Then maybe Sacramento and San Diego at some point.

The plan was backwards.

jmecklenborg Feb 14, 2019 11:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8474500)
NO that wasnt the plan which is why it failed, their plan was to build a train from Bakersfield to Merced

Then expand it to LA and San Francsico by 2030

Then maybe Sacramento and San Diego at some point.

The plan was backwards.


People have had 10 years to understand the plan, but few have. Phase 2 LA>SD is about setting up SoCal for HSR to Phoenix. It has nothing to do with creating a high speed service between DTLA and DTSD (or by extension, SD to the Central Valley or NoCal). It would have upgraded existing corridors to full grade separation and full electrification, enabling speeds of 125mph. It would have not been built until serious planning began for Phoenix HSR.

Phase 2 to Sacramento is a relatively simple and inexpensive improvement to the network. Obviously, if the Pacheco Pass approach is abandoned in favor of Altamont, the wye will not be built and a spur to Sacramento will only entail 60miles of new track construction, none of which will require a tunnel or other exotic engineering.

Obadno Feb 15, 2019 12:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 8474850)
People have had 10 years to understand the plan, but few have. Phase 2 LA>SD is about setting up SoCal for HSR to Phoenix. It has nothing to do with creating a high speed service between DTLA and DTSD (or by extension, SD to the Central Valley or NoCal). It would have upgraded existing corridors to full grade separation and full electrification, enabling speeds of 125mph. It would have not been built until serious planning began for Phoenix HSR.

Phase 2 to Sacramento is a relatively simple and inexpensive improvement to the network. Obviously, if the Pacheco Pass approach is abandoned in favor of Altamont, the wye will not be built and a spur to Sacramento will only entail 60miles of new track construction, none of which will require a tunnel or other exotic engineering.

They cant even get the thing built in the central valley but going through densely populated areas to SF, SJ, Okland, LA, Long Beach, Irvine and SD would be "relatively simple"?

I admire your optimism.

jmecklenborg Feb 15, 2019 12:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8474872)
They cant even get the thing built in the central valley but going through densely populated areas to SF, SJ, Okland, LA, Long Beach, Irvine and SD would be "relatively simple"?

I admire your optimism.


Phase 2 between Merced and Sacramento does not travel through SF, SJ, Okland [sic], LA, Long Beach, Irvine and SD.


Instead of responding to my posts without reading them, or anyone else's, set aside 2 hours or so to go through all of the source materials available online dating back to 2005 or so.

plutonicpanda Feb 15, 2019 3:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jmecklenborg (Post 8473419)
Oh please.

You disagree? Please explain.

plutonicpanda Feb 15, 2019 3:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan (Post 8474268)
i would have used it 3 times over the last 2 weeks if it was built

Me too, but you think it is worth 100 billion dollars when other modern countries could have likely built it for pennies compared to what we're paying?

urban_encounter Feb 15, 2019 4:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 8474393)
The state is better off building rail networks for the Bay Are+ Sacramento and LA-San Diego mega regions.


Agreed!

SIGSEGV Feb 15, 2019 6:05 AM

As for mountains in HSR... try riding the train between Rome and Florence. It's like all in a tunnel.

jtown,man Feb 15, 2019 11:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8474346)
More like.. let us keep more of our money for our own state’s needs ( we send much more tax money to the federal government to be dispersed to other states than we receive)

Obama was nowhere near far left. Obamacare, his supposed far left commmunist boogeyman healthcare plan, was a conservative Heritage Foundation idea implemented in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney. So after Carter we’ve had 6 republican presidents in a row (some more sane than others).

When a REAL leftist gets in, like FDR, tax the fuck out of billionaires and pay for HSR and mass rail infrastructure with that- which is how the interstate highway system was built (and the top marginal tax rate was 90%)

And the fact that you say ppl in Japan don’t drive cars when Japan has the world’s leading auto manufacturers and that it works for them because they live in small apartments.. bro have you even been to California??? I mean, outside of Redding? My first apartment in sF I could reach my arms and touch both walls and my bedroom was under my bed. You’re embarrassing yourself.

You're comparing the city of SF to the entire country of Japan?

Japans urbanity is some of the best on Earth, if not the best. The suburbs of Tokyo have far superior transit compared to SF. People live differently there. Walking and taking the train is part of life. Its not the case in California. Period.

Will O' Wisp Feb 16, 2019 10:14 PM

Why the California Bullet Train Project Failed: 7 “Worst Practices”

Quote:

Worst Practice #1: Legally defining project parameters in ways that can never be changed. In 2008, California voters approved Proposition 1A, which enacted a new law authorizing construction of the high-speed rail system and authorizing the issuance of $9 billion in bonds to fund planning, design and construction. However, the law enacted by Prop 1A (text here) was exceedingly detailed, and prescribed the route, minimum speed between each set of major destinations, number of stations, headway times, and other metrics. And in California, laws enacted by ballot initiative can never be amended by the state legislature without going back to voters (see Article II, section 10 of their constitution). This meant that the project could not evolve to fit budgetary and other realistic constraints without inviting lawsuits based on the text of Prop 1A, which the State Auditor said caused many of the construction delays. It is uncertain if California can ever construct a system that meets the terms of Prop 1A, which includes a requirement that the finished system “will not require a local, state, or federal operating subsidy.”

Worst Practice #2: Using different types of dollars for your cost estimate and your pay-for. California voters were told in 2008 by the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) that the entire 800-mile system (including extensions to Sacramento and San Diego) would cost $40 billion and that they were being asked to put up $9 billion in state bonds for their share of the project cost. This, naturally, led voters to assume that their bond issuance would pay about 22.5 percent of the cost. But the construction cost estimate was in constant 2007 dollars that would inflate with time and delay. The $9 billion in bonds, by contrast, was a fixed amount that would never go up. Since summer 2008, the evolving cost estimates have led to the Sacramento and San Diego extensions being shelved and the cost estimate of the remaining 520 miles now at $77 billion in year-of-expenditure dollars. But the Prop 1A bonds still only raise $9 billion, which is now less than 12 percent of construction cost of the truncated system. Dedicated revenues for a proposed project should always be compared to the same kind of dollars used in the cost estimate.

Worst Practice #3: Relying on non-existent, hypothetical funding sources for the bulk of your capital costs. CHSRA was telling voters in fall 2008 that “Federal funding sources are needed for 25% – 33% of the construction cost. The targeted federal funding would come in part from existing program funding sources, but would also require the creation of new grant allocation programs designed specifically for high-speed trains.” (Emphasis added.) CHSRA then made a broader leap for the remainder of the funding, saying that their finance team “anticipates that the commitment of state and federal dollars will attract private sector funding.” The federal government did not create any such programs with guaranteed, multi-year funding, and after a burst of one-time federal appropriations in 2009, no federal dollars have been forthcoming since. Nor has the private-sector money materialized. It’s probably bad practice to predicate your entire program strategy on a future Congress creating a new program just to fund your project, funding that program fully, and then having that money in turn attract outside funding.

Worst Practice #4: Appropriating funds with a short deadline for greenfield projects and untried technologies. Out of the blue, the February 2009 ARRA stimulus law appropriated $8 billion for a new high-speed and intercity passenger rail grant program, at the behest of White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel (who stunned Congressional appropriators on the last night of the House-Senate conference by demanding $10 billion for an untried program that had only received $300 million in the House bill and $2.25 billion in the Senate version – his demand was eventually downsized to $8 billion in the final law). Because ARRA’s legislative momentum was all about immediate response to the Great Recession, the high-speed rail money had two deadlines – every dime had to be legally obligated by September 2012, and every dime had to be spent by the Treasury by September 2017. This decision by the White House and Congress in turn led to a lot of bad decision-making down the line by forcing the Department of Transportation to give money to projects that were barely in the design phase and for which the technology did not yet exist in the U.S., lest the money be forfeited. (Yes, high-speed rail was a tried-and-true technology overseas, but none of those systems could be purchased “off the shelf” and installed in the U.S. because they did not meet our safety standards, and those safety standards were not changed until three months ago.) This deadline from the ARRA law then led to the next three worst practices associated with this project. Specifically:

Worst Practice #5: Committing federal dollars for construction of a project that is clearly not ready for construction. Because of the deadline pressure from the stimulus law – and because the new Republican governors of Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio turned back their shares of the $8 billion upon taking office in early 2011 – the Department of Transportation wound up giving $2.6 billion of ARRA’s $8 billion to the California project. They then followed that up with another $929 million of fiscal year 2010 appropriations enacted a few months later. A full $3 billion of that $3.5 billion was dedicated to construction, despite the fact that none of the environmental analysis was complete and that the financing plan for the project was still sketchy. (In the CHSRA April 2010 update, they only anticipated reaching a record of decision on the relevant segments by fall 2011. It actually took until June 2014.) By contrast, the federal program that funds new subway and light rail systems (the §5309 Capital Investment Grants program) requires that all proposed new projects get their environmental clearances first, and only then can they try to put their funding package together with additional engineering, and only after that can they actually apply for federal construction dollars. The California project could never have received federal construction funds if the high-speed rail program had been run like the mass transit new starts program.

Worst Practice #6: Committing federal dollars for anything less than an operable segment of a new system. Another key feature of the “new starts” (Capital Investment Grants) program for new subways and light rail systems is this: when building a new system where none yet exists, the federal government cannot fund construction of anything less than a “minimum operable segment” (MOS), which is defined as “The MOS must be able to function as a stand-alone project and not be dependent on any future segments being constructed.” Congress, regrettably, did not include any such minimum standard for the high-speed rail grant program, meaning that all the Federal Railroad Administration had to do before committing construction money to a project was to satisfy a general requirement of the National Environmental Policy Act that any project demonstrate “independent utility.” FRA has given $3 billion in federal construction money to a Central Valley Segment which (a) is not guaranteed to connect to anything else, ever and (b) has no money in its budget to actually buy high-speed trains. Yet FRA has stated that the Central Valley Segment has independent utility, even if the rest of the state high-speed system is never built, because existing Amtrak trains could use the new high-speed rail lines at up to 120 miles per hour (up from the previous 79 mph), along with the safety benefits that come from using the new track without grade crossings. The Central Valley Segment, by itself, is clearly not operable as a high-speed rail system, and could not have received federal construction funds if the high-speed rail program worked the same way that the mass transit program does.

Worst Practice #7: Allowing the state to spend all the federal dollars first. Standard federal practice for matching grant programs is for every dollar spent to have the same federal-state match. If the project agreement calls for a 60-40 federal-state match, then for every dollar spent, the state must produce 40 cents of its own money to match 60 cents of federal money. This ratio stays the same from the first dollar spent to the last dollar spent, and in this way, it ensures that both the federal government and its state/local partner have the exact same proportion of “skin the game” through every step of the project. But the ARRA deadline pressures, and the delays, eventually made it clear that the Central Valley Segment was not going to be completed by September 30, 2017, the date on which all unspent ARRA appropriations would vanish in a puff of smoke. So California asked DOT in the spring of 2011 for permission to spend the ARRA dollars first, and then spend the state share later, after the 2017 deadline. At first, DOT said no, that this was bad practice and put the project in “serious jeopardy“. But later on, in December 2012, DOT changed its mind and allowed California to spend all of its ARRA money first and then come up with its state matching dollars later, which they did. By allowing California to spend the federal money first, the state essentially went into debt to the federal government. As the State Auditor report pointed out, if California can’t complete construction of the Central Valley Segment by December 2022 (the deadline in the latest FRA grant agreement amendment), “it may need to repay $3.5 billion in federal funding, $2.6 billion of which it reports it has already spent.” This is why Governor Newsom made a point of saying yesterday that they had to finish building the Central Valley Segment, even if never connects to anything else, because “I am not interested in sending $3.5 billion in federal funding that was allocated to this project back to Donald Trump.”


Busy Bee Feb 16, 2019 10:35 PM

The project didn't fail. It's still under construction and will eventually be completed although at a later date and at a higher cost adjusted for inflation. The "pause" is saving political face and using the completion of the central valley segment as a guarantee of future federal dollars to bore the mountain tunnels.

Will O' Wisp Feb 16, 2019 10:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8476961)
The project didn't fail. It's still under construction and will eventually be completed although at a later date and at a higher cost adjusted for inflation. The "pause" is saving political face and using the completion of the central valley segment as a guarantee of future federal dollars to bore the mountain tunnels.

Depends on your definition of "failure". You are right in that infrastructure is getting built and there remains a potential path forward for the final connections to SF and LA. I do think though that this is the death knell for the extensions so San Diego and Sacamento, and so the system did fail at connecting all the major metros it initially promised. Even as a CAHSR supporter I think it's important to acknowledge there were some serious issues with the way it was conceived and run, and that's why we're currently left with a partially complete HSR line and an uncertain future.

BrownTown Feb 16, 2019 10:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8476961)
The project didn't fail. It's still under construction and will eventually be completed although at a later date and at a higher cost adjusted for inflation. The "pause" is saving political face and using the completion of the central valley segment as a guarantee of future federal dollars to bore the mountain tunnels.

1. The project did fail. Even if it does eventually get built it will only be after drastic cost overruns and delays. That's still a failure even if trains eventually do roll. The Big Dig is probably the largest infrastructure boondoggle in my lifetime, but it was still completed eventually.

2. The probability this is NEVER completed is still quite high. It seems much more likely than not that the full system will never get built and even the limited system between SF and LA seems a 50:50 bet at best. The only way this gets built is if the federal government implements a large infrastructure bill and directs funding to it. An infrastructure bill can likely get bipartisan support and has a decent chance, but even if infrastructure money is approved Republicans will try to stop funding for this specific project given how large the price is and how all the remaining construction will be in incredibly blue areas.

Sun Belt Feb 17, 2019 1:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8476961)
The project didn't fail. It's still under construction and will eventually be completed although at a later date and at a higher cost adjusted for inflation. The "pause" is saving political face and using the completion of the central valley segment as a guarantee of future federal dollars to bore the mountain tunnels.

That sounds exactly like a failure to me.

1] They're just "pausing it", in other words, not coming remotely close to completing "phase I" which was already a severe cut back from the initial proposal.

2] It'll eventually be completed at a later date and higher cost. Uhh, ok. How is that not failing? Everything will be eventually completed at much higher costs than today.

Busy Bee Feb 17, 2019 1:53 AM

I suppose my definition of failure would be pulling all support for and not even pursuing the completion of the project. I don't think that's what happening here. It's akin to a schoolboy being held back in school for a couple grades vs. a dead schoolboy.

Sun Belt Feb 17, 2019 2:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8476985)
The Big Dig is probably the largest infrastructure boondoggle in my lifetime, but it was still completed eventually.

And speaking of the Big Dig, how's that working out with traffic? Boston was just ranked with the worst traffic in the nation this year. Not exactly what was promised a couple decades ago, lol.

BrownTown Feb 17, 2019 2:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8477131)
And speaking of the Big Dig, how's that working out with traffic? Boston was just ranked with the worst traffic in the nation this year. Not exactly what was promised a couple decades ago, lol.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Big Dig wasn't about fixing traffic, it was about tearing down an "ugly" elevated freeway. It's still a huge gash across the city though, just a green one instead of an asphalt one. Seattle just completed a similar project which was also a huge boondoggle and it actually reduced the amount of lanes.

Sun Belt Feb 17, 2019 3:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8477145)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Big Dig wasn't about fixing traffic, it was about tearing down an "ugly" elevated freeway. It's still a huge gash across the city though, just a green one instead of an asphalt one. Seattle just completed a similar project which was also a huge boondoggle and it actually reduced the amount of lanes.

Yes and no. Bostonians loved the aesthetics of the project. Tearing down the other green monster, re-knitting the North End to the rest of the city. Also, The Big Dig was more than burying ugly traffic underground where it is hidden from the eye. The old Central Artery Expressway was designed and used as a local road. The Big Dig did eliminate numerous on and off ramps throughout central Boston.

Also the third harbor tunnel, definitely relieved the callahand and sumner tunnels.

Everybody knew then as they know now that adding one lane to the 93 wouldn't do jack squat in terms of mobility.

mt_climber13 Feb 17, 2019 3:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8475228)
You're comparing the city of SF to the entire country of Japan?

Japans urbanity is some of the best on Earth, if not the best. The suburbs of Tokyo have far superior transit compared to SF. People live differently there. Walking and taking the train is part of life. Its not the case in California. Period.

Plenty of walkable cities and towns in California, especially along the HSR nodes. LA is one of the densest urban areas in the country, SF is the second densest city in the country. Not sure if you've even been to California or what parts you have been, but I'm born and raised here, and have been to almost every large to medium sized city in the state. HSR will not work though without auxiliary LIGHT RAIL that connects with major HSR nodes. We should probably get that worked out first.

jtown,man Feb 17, 2019 5:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8477145)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but the Big Dig wasn't about fixing traffic, it was about tearing down an "ugly" elevated freeway. It's still a huge gash across the city though, just a green one instead of an asphalt one. Seattle just completed a similar project which was also a huge boondoggle and it actually reduced the amount of lanes.

I hate these new types of "parks." Basically just a lawn. They should have built actual buildings in Boston. It would have been so much better looking and functioning. I do like Dallas's park though, its small and looks decent.

jtown,man Feb 17, 2019 5:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8477190)
Plenty of walkable cities and towns in California, especially along the HSR nodes. LA is one of the densest urban areas in the country, SF is the second densest city in the country. Not sure if you've even been to California or what parts you have been, but I'm born and raised here, and have been to almost every large to medium sized city in the state. HSR will not work though without auxiliary LIGHT RAIL that connects with major HSR nodes. We should probably get that worked out first.

I've been to California before, but have you been to Japan? There's not even a comparison to be had. I have no doubt parts of California are dense but that doesn't warrant a 70 billion dollar HSR system.

*Oh been to L.A and SF.

Sun Belt Feb 17, 2019 1:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8477219)
I hate these new types of "parks." Basically just a lawn. They should have built actual buildings in Boston. It would have been so much better looking and functioning. I do like Dallas's park though, its small and looks decent.

I don't think the tunnels were designed to carry the weight of buildings. That's why Boston ended up with the greenway. And honestly, who the heck would protest against green space in a city like Boston? Easy PR.

Busy Bee Feb 17, 2019 2:23 PM

Why do people even continue bothering with the Japan comparison. Yeah no shit they aren't even close. The best comparison would be a cross between Spain and Italy, two countries with succesful high speed rail services. This should be the California programs go to look-see for naysayers and skeptics.

BrownTown Feb 17, 2019 2:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8477329)
Why do people even continue bothering with the Japan comparison. Yeah no shit they aren't even close. The best comparison would be a cross between Spain and Italy, two countries with succesful high speed rail services. This should be the California programs go to look-see for naysayers and skeptics.

Where the comparison breaks down is the same place every infrastructure comparison between the US and the rest of the world breaks down (cost). I can't find totally accurate numbers, but it's looking like Spain spent roughly 40 Billion Euros for 3,000km of rail whereas California was looking at 100 Billion USD for 840 km.

jtown,man Feb 17, 2019 3:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8477329)
Why do people even continue bothering with the Japan comparison. Yeah no shit they aren't even close. The best comparison would be a cross between Spain and Italy, two countries with succesful high speed rail services. This should be the California programs go to look-see for naysayers and skeptics.

Great. Now could someone explain why Spain can build rail for almost half the costs of the United States? If we could figure *that* out maybe we wouldn't have the cancel/hold off our projects.

EDIT: I see that someone already brought up this glaringly obvious comparison and the issues with it.

emathias Feb 17, 2019 4:09 PM

I don't understand the "we have cheap gas" argument. If/when US petroleum starts being carbon-taxed effectively, or outright banned for certain uses, electric trains powered with renewable energy could easily become required for certain routes currently served primarily by rail.

We're obviously not there yet, but all it really would have taken is for the Republican Congress to agree to spend more of the approved stimulus on productive investments instead of only whatever piddling "shovel ready" projects there were and there could easily have been hundreds of billions of dollars spent in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California. And maybe even Texas and the Mid-Atlantic. It's not that crazy - the Republicans are burning through a trillion a year in deficits, which is about $500 billion per year more deficit spending than was being spent under Obama. $500 billion could just about fund every HSR project in the country. And that amount each year for four years could build every HSR project and every transit project - even "dream" projects.

Attach zoning requirements to the funds and development will fill out a customer base.

It's not about money, it's about political will and political priorities.

jtown,man Feb 17, 2019 4:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8477390)
I don't understand the "we have cheap gas" argument. If/when US petroleum starts being carbon-taxed effectively, or outright banned for certain uses, electric trains powered with renewable energy could easily become required for certain routes currently served primarily by rail.

We're obviously not there yet, but all it really would have taken is for the Republican Congress to agree to spend more of the approved stimulus on productive investments instead of only whatever piddling "shovel ready" projects there were and there could easily have been hundreds of billions of dollars spent in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California. And maybe even Texas and the Mid-Atlantic. It's not that crazy - the Republicans are burning through a trillion a year in deficits, which is about $500 billion per year more deficit spending than was being spent under Obama. $500 billion could just about fund every HSR project in the country. And that amount each year for four years could build every HSR project and every transit project - even "dream" projects.

Attach zoning requirements to the funds and development will fill out a customer base.

It's not about money, it's about political will and political priorities.

Well, no one said politicians give a damn about spending money wisely.

However, I don't see the need. Transit in cities? Absolutely. HSR, why? There are only so many destinations that make sense time wise and then you add in the lack urbanity and competition from airlines and it just doesn't work.

ardecila Feb 17, 2019 5:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by emathias (Post 8477390)
We're obviously not there yet, but all it really would have taken is for the Republican Congress to agree to spend more of the approved stimulus on productive investments instead of only whatever piddling "shovel ready" projects there were and there could easily have been hundreds of billions of dollars spent in the Northeast, Upper Midwest, the Pacific Northwest, and California. And maybe even Texas and the Mid-Atlantic.

The whole point about stimulus is speed. It doesn't stimulate the economy if you dole out the money and it has to sit in escrow for six years while planning, environmental studies and engineering are done.

Road projects work better under the "shovel-ready" rubric because most states have an ongoing funding stream for planning, environmental, and engineering work that is premised on the reliable funding streams from state and Federal gas tax. Give states a larger than normal check for road projects, and they will have ways to spend it.

If you want to create a big long-term funding program for intercity and urban rail projects, that's something entirely different than stimulus.

Quote:

Attach zoning requirements to the funds and development will fill out a customer base.
Attach zoning requirements to a rail project and watch any local support evaporate. It's a valid planning goal but there's no way it works politically with the homeowner class. Transit agencies are doing what they can to increase density on a case-by-case basis around stations, but each station ends up being an independent process and a negotiation with each community where added density is no guarantee.

mt_climber13 Feb 17, 2019 5:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8477220)
I've been to California before, but have you been to Japan? There's not even a comparison to be had. I have no doubt parts of California are dense but that doesn't warrant a 70 billion dollar HSR system.

*Oh been to L.A and SF.

How many hundreds of billions do freeways cost? And they are a 100% loss leader. At least HSR would make up some of the cost in ticket sales. The next Dem president should declare a national emergency on climate change and build it.

jtown,man Feb 17, 2019 6:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8477441)
How many hundreds of billions do freeways cost? And they are a 100% loss leader. At least HSR would make up some of the cost in ticket sales. The next Dem president should declare a national emergency on climate change and build it.

But HSR is competing with the airlines. Driving from LA to SF is *much* cheaper driving than flying. It will also be much cheaper than HSR.

When will urbanist realize drivers represent the vast majority of Americans. Most people on here that use public transport also have a car. The majority wins.

mt_climber13 Feb 17, 2019 6:34 PM

Driving is cheaper than flying when carpooling (again, you're not from California so you don't know about airline commuter sales and prices where you can fly from Norcal to Socal for $100 or so). But when you factor in the actual costs of driving: maintenance on your car and the tax dollars, bonds, and compounded interests and costs paid to build and maintain said freeways- is it really cheaper?

And airports are very expensive to maintain but people use airplanes all the time. Amtrak is also popular (and doesn't turn a profit). HSR would be another form of transportation alongside all of these highly subsidized and expensive modes of transportation- with freeways being the most expensive, hands down.

And hopefully hyperloop as well

Busy Bee Feb 17, 2019 6:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8477458)
But HSR is competing with the airlines. Driving from LA to SF is *much* cheaper driving than flying. It will also be much cheaper than HSR.

When will urbanist realize drivers represent the vast majority of Americans. Most people on here that use public transport also have a car. The majority wins.

And when will the O'toole's and Kotkin's of the world realize that many of those things are only true becuase the federal government made a conserted decision to subsidize automobile mode choice, automobile land use and automobile infrastructure above all others, all the while failing to set automotive fuel taxes high enough to sufficiently maintain said infrastructure, let alone all the other social ills unleashed and perpetuated by such an absurd and imbalanced arrangement.


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