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DJM19 Aug 21, 2011 5:02 AM

Lets be clear: the option was never HSR or nothing. HSR is the alternative to spending even more money on other infrastructure related to the movement of PEOPLE across the same area. That does not include mass transit or ports, but yes it does preclude expanding airports much more (but that is happening anyway, see: LAX)

GioFX Aug 21, 2011 1:55 PM

Are they really going ahead with HSR?

I've ever wondered how on earth the ninth economy in the world doesn't have a rapid mass transit system. Hey last year I even dared to try booking a ride from Cisco to LAX and result was something like 1 train and 2 coaches for a 7hrs trip time!

California should have invested in this project back in the '70 or '80s and there would not have been any "carmageddon" crazyness.

JDRCRASH Aug 21, 2011 1:57 PM

Funny, the United States was so motivated to fund ambitious plans like sending a man to the moon or building the strongest nuclear weapons, yet it can't fund something like this?

Actually... it's beyond the point of laughable now. It's embarrassing, really.

Maybe the US should just let that certain country of 1.3 Billion people surpass it. Maybe people in D.C. will start waking up under the realization that the US is no longer the dominant superpower... and will likely NEVER be again.

Onn Aug 21, 2011 4:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5385599)
Funny, the United States was so motivated to fund ambitious plans like sending a man to the moon or building the strongest nuclear weapons, yet it can't fund something like this?

Actually... it's beyond the point of laughable now. It's embarrassing, really.

Maybe the US should just let that certain country of 1.3 Billion people surpass it. Maybe people in D.C. will start waking up under the realization that the US is no longer the dominant superpower... and will likely NEVER be again.

China is full of holes buddy, don't sweat it. The US is far more innovative, which in the end is all that matters. China is no better off than the Soviet Union once was. The US will be dominant for at least another century, quite possibly more.

hammersklavier Aug 21, 2011 8:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5385675)
China is full of holes buddy, don't sweat it. The US is far more innovative, which in the end is all that matters. China is no better off than the Soviet Union once was. The US will be dominant for at least another century, quite possibly more.

While I readily concur that no country is perfect, I find it highly doubtful China's problems are what you think they are. They're no Soviet Union, to say the least. Narratives of denial--such as you specialize in--are not going to change that fact.

fflint Aug 21, 2011 10:30 PM

Back on topic, please.

DJM19 Aug 22, 2011 2:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5385599)
Funny, the United States was so motivated to fund ambitious plans like sending a man to the moon or building the strongest nuclear weapons, yet it can't fund something like this?

Actually... it's beyond the point of laughable now. It's embarrassing, really.

Maybe the US should just let that certain country of 1.3 Billion people surpass it. Maybe people in D.C. will start waking up under the realization that the US is no longer the dominant superpower... and will likely NEVER be again.

Since the 60s, the percent of gdp spent on infrastructure has dropped significantly in the states. This may have been something proposed at a national level back then. Now its states largely spearheading the efforts.

all of the trash Sep 9, 2011 1:21 AM

time to start rolling the dice, governor.

Quote:

Bulk of high-speed rail costs could fall to state
The huge project hinges on a massive infusion of federal funds, but the political backing for that is fading fast. Brown will have to decide whether to start building it anyway.
http://www.latimes.com/media/photo/2011-09/64564971.jpg
Shown is an artist's conception of the San Jose stop on the California high-speed rail system. (California High-Speed Rail Authority)

By Ralph Vartabedian, Los Angeles Times
September 8, 2011

As California prepares to commit tens of billions of dollars to an ambitious high-speed rail line from San Francisco to Southern California, Congress' political will to provide the bulk of the funding is disappearing, leaving the possibility that the state could end up stuck with a crushing financial burden.

State voters have agreed to issue more than $9 billion in bonds to build the system, but that's a fraction of the $43 billion projected tab for the initial phase. And those costs could swell to $65 billion or more, by some estimates.

Should federal funds dry up after the scheduled start of construction next year, the state could be left with no more than an unfulfilled dream and some tracks in the Central Valley.

"If the federal government and private investors are not going to provide funds, and California is broke, why would it take on an enormous new commitment?" asked Martin Wachs, a Rand Corp. transportation expert and former director of UC Berkeley's Institute of Transportation Studies.

In coming months, Gov. Jerry Brown will decide whether to issue the bonds to launch the project — at a time when the nation and state are attempting to control mounting public debt that has already damaged both their credit ratings.

The bullet train hinges on a huge investment of federal dollars when Washington is intent on cutting the nation's budget. Republicans who control the House of Representatives have already declared new rail construction their "lowest priority."

Under the deficit reduction agreement, the House and Senate appropriations committees must cut the nation's overall transportation spending, and they will start deciding how to do that as early as Thursday. At the same time, the Obama administration is asking for an $8-billion increase for rail programs.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), the majority whip whose district would be served by the rail line, said he doubted that any spending measure that contains funding for high-speed rail in California or anywhere else would pass the House.

"I don't know how anybody can come to the conclusion that the California high-speed rail is a good investment in the financial times we are in," McCarthy said. "When California has the deficit problem it has now, how can it envision finishing this?"

Rep. Jerry Lewis (R-Redlands), California's senior representative on the House Appropriations Committee, added, "I frankly don't see it. The pressure is on to reduce spending, not increase spending."

Lewis said he does not believe the rail project even ranks as a high priority in the Senate, where a Democratic majority provides a friendlier venue.

Democratic backers of bullet trains see them as promoting future economic growth, creating jobs and improving the environment.

Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairwoman of the Senate panel that funds transportation, lashed out at cuts to high-speed rail proposed by House Republicans at a hearing earlier this year.

"We are at a pivotal moment in our national transportation policy," Murray said. "But the recent focus in Congress on budget cuts has created a race to the bottom that makes it difficult to continue those investments."

The upcoming decisions on the high-speed rail system represent one of the ultimate philosophical clashes in public spending. The sheer size and scope of the rail system makes it one of the most ambitious programs ever undertaken by a state known for gutsy projects.

The system would connect the two centers of gravity in California by a 100-foot-wide ribbon of land where bullet trains would shoot by at 220 mph as often as every five minutes, and move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less time than a typical baseball game.

In scope and cost, it would eclipse any of the state's dams, office buildings, canals, highways or other government structures, including the Golden Gate Bridge.

Even if there are no cost overruns, it would be twice as expensive as the State Water Project, the 1960s-era system that transports northern Sierra water to Southern California. A study this year estimated the current cost to replace that system of dams and canals at $18 billion.

And the plan would require some ambitious engineering. Tunnels would stretch miles. Trains would soar over cities atop viaducts six stories tall. Three mountain ranges would be crossed. The zigzagging route would gobble up homes, businesses and farmland.

The project's first phase would take the rail from downtown San Francisco to Anaheim for an estimated $43 billion, but outside groups put the cost at $65 billion or higher. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office said it could hit $67 billion. (A second phase would extend lines to Sacramento, Riverside and San Diego.)

The state now has the lowest bond rating in the nation, according to state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a Democrat who remains concerned about the rail investment. "I have some worries about the business plan, the cost of construction and operating expenses," Lockyer said. "A lot of those questions haven't been adequately answered."

Also
High-speed rail in California Graphic: High-speed rail in California
Report casts doubt on forecasts for California high speed rail Report casts doubt on forecasts for California high speed rail
Hate pollution? The air may be cleaner on the Metro than in your car Hate pollution? The air may be cleaner on the Metro than in your car
Discount tickets, special Metrolink stops for L.A. County Fair Discount tickets, special Metrolink stops for L.A. County Fair

Proponents are arguing for the state to not worry about future funding and launch the rail program with $6.3 billion the authority can immediately use, $3.5 billion of it from prior federal grants and $2.8 billion from the state bonds approved in 2008. That's enough money to start construction next year on an initial 140-mile segment from south of Chowchilla to north of Bakersfield. California is required to spend the federal money by 2017, meaning construction would have to start in 2012.

The decision facing Brown is whether to issue some of the bonds and start building the system, knowing that the current Republican-controlled House will block future appropriations necessary to complete the project. Powerful people are pushing Brown to forge ahead.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, a Republican in the Obama administration, has talked with Brown three times in recent months and urged him to stick with the project, part of a $53-billion administration proposal for passenger rail.

The California High Speed Rail Authority argues the project will never get built if the state expects to have a guaranteed source of funding for the entire system before construction begins.

"Building a project of this magnitude will always carry risk," said Roelof van Ark, the authority's chief executive, who noted that high-speed rail systems around the world were built without a front-end guarantee.

"If you don't get money for one or two years that is not the end of the world," Van Ark said. And if money runs out and the system is only partially built, it would leave in place a cornerstone that "my children or my grandchildren can continue to build to San Francisco or in a southerly direction into L.A."

Such a vision may be farsighted, but it doesn't quite fit into modern political reality. Brown recently appointed two financial experts to the rail authority's board and charged them with conducting a fresh examination.

A Brown advisor, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said a "steep erosion in confidence" in the authority has led to concerns about the project. The authority had planned to issue a new business plan in October to support the upcoming bond issue, but that plan may be delayed by Brown's review, he said.

To accelerate the network's development, the Brown administration might seek to tie high-speed service into existing urban rail systems.

Even then, the state could run out of money.

"I can't think of any mega-project like this that had all of the funding in place before it began," said Roy W. Kienitz, undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation. "If you have the ambition to do something big like this, you have to live with the fact that there is going to be uncertainty in the future."

ralph.vartabedian@latimes.com
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la...rce=feedburner

202_Cyclist Sep 9, 2011 11:12 AM

In other California high speed rail news, the independent peer review of Cambridge Systematics passenger forecasting found that their methodology and forecasts were essentially sound.

Independent Peer Review of the California High-Speed Rail Ridership and Revenue Forecasting Process 
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/as...806c959c4d.pdf

202_Cyclist Sep 9, 2011 11:15 AM

I've posted this in another thread but the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on high speed rail next Wednesday, September 14. The hearings are broadcast on the website and are web-archived.

Moving Intercity Passenger Rail Into the Future

Sep 14 2011 10:00 AM
Russell Senate Office Building - 253

"WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security today announced a hearing to review the Federal Railroad Administration’s and Amtrak’s implementation of the Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008, including the intercity and high-speed rail grant programs.

Please note the hearing will also be webcast live via the Senate Commerce Committee website at http://commerce.senate.gov. Refresh the Commerce Committee homepage 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to view the webcast."

http://commerce.senate.gov/public/in...1-de668ca1978a

pesto Sep 9, 2011 6:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5405594)
In other California high speed rail news, the independent peer review of Cambridge Systematics passenger forecasting found that their methodology and forecasts were essentially sound.

Independent Peer Review of the California High-Speed Rail Ridership and Revenue Forecasting Process 
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/as...806c959c4d.pdf

Will CAHSR be revising their estimates as suggested in the review? Any idea when these will be available?

dimondpark Sep 9, 2011 8:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by all of the trash
A Brown advisor, speaking on condition that he not be identified, said a "steep erosion in confidence" in the authority has led to concerns about the project.

Ya think?:haha:

Quote:

Originally Posted by all of the trash
The state now has the lowest bond rating in the nation, according to state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a Democrat who remains concerned about the rail investment. "I have some worries about the business plan, the cost of construction and operating expenses," Lockyer said. "A lot of those questions haven't been adequately answered."

Bill Lockyer is 100% correct.

Btw, Lockyer has worn many hats in state government and he's worn them all very well. He should be Gavin Newsom's Lt Governor.:tup:

M II A II R II K Sep 21, 2011 5:11 PM

High-speed rail: Lawsuits could delay, kill plans


Read More: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...MQ8.DTL&ao=all

Quote:

Even if state officials can scrape together the billions of dollars needed to fund California's ambitious high-speed rail plans, lawsuits from cities and opposition groups could delay, divert or derail the project. In the Bay Area, cities and nonprofits are suing over issues with the route and environmental studies. In Southern California, the city of Palmdale (Los Angeles County) has gone to court over fears that rail officials will abandon a planned Antelope Valley line through the city and reroute the tracks up Interstate 5 instead.

Perhaps the hardest-fought battle is yet to come in the Central Valley, where Kings County officials and residents say they'll do everything in their power to stop a 100-mile stretch of track from wiping out thousands of acres of prime farmland between Fresno and Bakersfield. The biggest obstacle facing the beleaguered bullet train is probably its uncertain financial future. But lengthy court battles also could affect the project by delaying construction, increasing costs and altering the course the train takes through the state.

According to estimates by the California High-Speed Rail Authority, rerouting the high-speed line to satisfy stakeholders could add hundreds of millions, even billions, of dollars to the final price tag. At the moment, ground zero for opposition to the project is Kings County. It's a crucial region for the project because federal requirements attached to almost $3.5 billion in stimulus cash dictate construction must begin in the valley. If rail officials are unable to spend those funds by September 2017, the federal government could divert them elsewhere.

In Kings County, lawyers are preparing objections to a recent draft environmental study. Local officials and residents say that if their complaints fall on deaf ears during the legally required public comment period, they are ready for a fight. "Some higher authority needs to put a stop to this," said Diana Peck, director of the Kings County Farm Bureau. "If we've gone through every single channel up the chain, then, of course, it's going to end up in court."

At the heart of the county's frustrations is the rail authority's refusal to consider running the high-speed trains along the Highway 99 corridor. Instead, the line veers off the highway south of Fresno to follow the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway freight line. Then it breaks away again to swerve through farmland, dairies, homes and anything else in its path, eventually meeting up with the highway again near Corcoran (Kings County).

.....



http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/20...1316316137.jpg

all of the trash Sep 22, 2011 5:22 AM

Pretty convinced at this point CHSR is never going to happen. The people don't want it and no one is enthusiastic about it outside transport hobbyists. Outside the bay area, California is a very 'stupid' state with no long term ambitions. We have a 31 page thread about this but its realyl just a bunch of nerds playing with their train sets. The real people don't care about this and are going to kill it at every corner.

Lipani Sep 22, 2011 6:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by all of the trash (Post 5419174)
Outside the bay area, California is a very 'stupid' state with no long term ambitions.

Everyone outside of the Bay Area is stupid? Clearly those 'wonderful' people in Menlo Park and Palo Alto are going out of their way to support HSR.

DJM19 Sep 22, 2011 6:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by all of the trash (Post 5419174)
Pretty convinced at this point CHSR is never going to happen. The people don't want it and no one is enthusiastic about it outside transport hobbyists. Outside the bay area, California is a very 'stupid' state with no long term ambitions. We have a 31 page thread about this but its realyl just a bunch of nerds playing with their train sets. The real people don't care about this and are going to kill it at every corner.

Uh, there are plenty of areas in the state that are intelligent and have long term ambitions. LA is very much in support of this project, and its going to be going through actual urban areas here by thousands and thousands of people's homes but we want it. We already passed 40 billion in taxes for transit improvements by a large majority. That is commitment to the future.

fflint Sep 22, 2011 9:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by all of the trash (Post 5419174)
Pretty convinced at this point CHSR is never going to happen. The people don't want it and no one is enthusiastic about it outside transport hobbyists. Outside the bay area, California is a very 'stupid' state with no long term ambitions. We have a 31 page thread about this but its realyl just a bunch of nerds playing with their train sets. The real people don't care about this and are going to kill it at every corner.

If you cannot or will not make your point without insulting millions of people, then this is not the forum for you.

202_Cyclist Sep 24, 2011 1:55 PM

More rail service could spring from new agency (San Diego Union-Tribune)
 
This isn't high speed rail, so I didn't know which thread to post this article in. I understand the concerns about costs and additional responsibilities but the Pacific Surfliner is the second busiest passenger rail route in the US. I assume anything that improves coordination and planning among the fragmented local authorities will help improve investment.

I'm an absolute strong supporter of high speed rail but someone said the other day on the California High Speed Rail blog that improving the LA-San Diego service to 160 mph average speeds should have been the first priority of the CA HSR Authority. This makes a lot of sense. If you could get from LA-San Diego in an hour or OC to San Diego in 45 minutes, it would have encouraged a lot more support for high speed rail, as well as allowing new commuting and work patterns.

More rail service could spring from new agency


San Diego Union-Tribune
9/24/2011

"A plan is in the works that could lead to a significant expansion of rail service between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Regional transportation agencies are considering joining forces for a super authority that would oversee 351 miles of coastal rail between San Diego and San Luis Obisbo.

Among the many changes forged by that authority could be as many as 27 additional daily train trips along the San Diego-Los Angeles corridor, officials said...."

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...e-southern-ca/

BrennanW Sep 24, 2011 6:11 PM

I know my opinion means little on this issue, but I must say that I wholly endorse this proposal.

Corridor service is incredibly important in a good nationwide transportation system.

JDRCRASH Sep 25, 2011 3:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5419991)
If you cannot or will not make your point without insulting millions of people, then this is not the forum for you.

I don't think he's hating on this project or insulting anyone. I just think he's so pessimistic (as he should be, what with the cacamamie policies coming out of the House of Congress these days) that he's come to the conclusion that the CHSR is now dead.

This, of course, is untrue. Worst case scenario, we WILL end up with a HSR track from Bakersfield to Fresno (Gov. Brown knows the importance of the project and WON'T divert the state-approved funding).

In fact, I think there's a good chance we could end up with a FUNCTIONING HSR line from Fresno to Bakersfield, complete with stations.

jamesinclair Sep 26, 2011 8:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by all of the trash (Post 5419174)
Pretty convinced at this point CHSR is never going to happen. The people don't want it and no one is enthusiastic about it outside transport hobbyists. Outside the bay area, California is a very 'stupid' state with no long term ambitions. We have a 31 page thread about this but its realyl just a bunch of nerds playing with their train sets. The real people don't care about this and are going to kill it at every corner.

The hilarious irony is that the "enlightened" bay area is the one trying to sue the train away.

If you read closely, youll notice Palmdale is suing...TO GET THE TRAIN!

And Fresno is planning their entire downtown revitalization around the train arriving.


Also, if only the train nerds give a damn...how exactly did the bond proposition pass then?

Some seem to quickly forget that HSR was put to a popular vote...and won.

And then again in 2010, Governor brown ran on a pro-HSR platform. The GOp ran against it. Guess who won with an overwhelming victory?

electricron Sep 26, 2011 1:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesinclair (Post 5423318)
Also, if only the train nerds give a damn...how exactly did the bond proposition pass then?

Some seem to quickly forget that HSR was put to a popular vote...and won.

And then again in 2010, Governor brown ran on a pro-HSR platform. The GOp ran against it. Guess who won with an overwhelming victory?

All true. But what you forgot to mention was that voters only approved $9 Billion for HSR bonds. They did NOT approve $40 Billion for HSR bonds....

Additionally, they didn't vote exclusively for or against HSR, they voted for a Governor with a personality and many more issues, and they voted for selling only so much bonds for HSR.

202_Cyclist Sep 26, 2011 3:32 PM

High-speed rail would test power grid (Fresno Bee)
 
The California High Speed Rail Authority is probably greatly overestimating the cost of procuring renewable energy. The price for solar has been decreasing pretty significantly in recent years and I think there is little doubt that it will continue to do so in the years until the high speed rail system is built. There is also plenty of built real estate in the Bay Area and Southern California on which to put solar panels.


High-speed rail would test power grid

By Tim Sheehan
The Fresno Bee
Sep. 25, 2011

"Trains rolling through the San Joaquin Valley chug along on diesel power, hauling freight and passengers at speeds that range from a seeming crawl -- especially if you're stuck at a crossing -- to upward of 75 mph.

But the 220-mph passenger trains proposed by the California High-Speed Rail Authority would run on electricity, with overhead power lines providing juice along the 800-mile route connecting San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego.

If the system is ever built, it's going to take massive amounts of electricity to make those trains fly, raising questions about the power grid's ability to meet the demand. If you think your electric bill is high -- just be thankful you're not the Rail Authority..."

http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/09/25/...est-power.html

Jebby Sep 26, 2011 5:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by fflint (Post 5419991)
If you cannot or will not make your point without insulting millions of people, then this is not the forum for you.

Except, of course, if that insult is directed towards conservatives or people who don't agree with progressive social policy, right?

fflint Sep 27, 2011 3:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by galeforcewinds (Post 5423651)
Except, of course, if that insult is directed towards conservatives or people who don't agree with progressive social policy, right?

Except you have it backwards; you just quoted me literally addressing an ad hominem directed at people from conservative areas and at those who don't share my support for CAHSR. Read more closely.

202_Cyclist Sep 27, 2011 11:10 AM

Quote:

Except, of course, if that insult is directed towards conservatives or people who don't agree with progressive social policy, right?
When conservatives want to gut all funding for high speed rail, Amtrak, New Starts transit funding, bike paths, and cut the US Department of Transportation's budget by twenty percent, all while maintaining tax loopholes for billionaires and oil companies, there is plenty of reason to criticize them.

electricron Sep 27, 2011 12:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5424645)
When conservatives want to gut all funding for high speed rail, Amtrak, New Starts transit funding, bike paths, and cut the US Department of Transportation's budget by twenty percent, all while maintaining tax loopholes for billionaires and oil companies, there is plenty of reason to criticize them.

Buy stocks in those oil companies, and you too can take advantage of the same tax loopholes. Additionally, the poor qualify for more tax loopholes than the rich.

Gutting funding for HSR isn't a cut, since zero funds were allocated for HSR before Obama became President. The Democrats had two years to pass a new Transportation funding bill when they had majorities in both houses of Congress, but decided to pass on that to concentrate on passing something else. Now they can't get what they want because the Republicans have control of one house.
As for cuts in other programs, what cuts? Increasing budgets from year to year shouldn't qualify as a cut, but it is in D.C. if budgets don't increase as much as some think it should.

202_Cyclist Sep 27, 2011 2:29 PM

Electricron:
Quote:

Buy stocks in those oil companies, and you too can take advantage of the same tax loopholes. Additionally, the poor qualify for more tax loopholes than the rich.
Are you one of those people like Dick Perry who think we should raise the payroll taxes on those lucky working families that earn $30,000 a year, while we continue with the Bush tax cuts?

Quote:

Gutting funding for HSR isn't a cut, since zero funds were allocated for HSR before Obama became President.
This is just nonsensical. The Recovery Act provided $8B for high speed rail. In FY2010, there was $2.4B for high speed rail. FY2011 had $1.5B for high speed rail. Despite what Paul Ryan or Rush Limbaugh says, going from $8B to $1.5B to zero (as proposed by the RepuB(P)licans is most definitely a cut in funding.

Quote:

As for cuts in other programs, what cuts? Increasing budgets from year to year shouldn't qualify as a cut, but it is in D.C. if budgets don't increase as much as some think it should.
Again, this is laughable and nonsensical. Both Paul Ryan's proposed budget and the House Appropriations budget have dramatic cuts to transportation, at a time when China is investing 8% of its GDP and European countries are investing 5-6% of their GDP in transportation and at a time when we haven't raised the 18.4 cent per gallon gas tax in nearly twenty years.

"Under spending caps the House Republicans previously announced, transportation and housing programs would receive cuts of 17 percent, while health and education programs would be reduced by 4 percent."

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-0...ding-cuts.html

"Ryan’s budget calls for $704 billion to be spent on transportation over the next decade. That’s $318 billion less than if current spending levels were simply extended forward, according to House Transportation Committee Ranking Member Nick Rahall’s office, and $633 billion less than what Obama requested."

http://dc.streetsblog.org/2011/04/06...il-dependence/

So, yes, I stand by my claim that the GO(B)P wants to gut funding for transportation.

electricron Sep 27, 2011 4:18 PM

What was the HSR budget before Obama came President?
Zero?

All stimulus funds, including HSR, was added onto of an earlier budget, an increase of what was being allocated before. Restoring what was before isn't cutting.

Increasing taxes so they can increase spending was the way liberals once worked. Today, they're just the opposite, they spend money they don't have then demand more taxes to pay for it. What ever happen to spending what money you have?

Gordo Sep 27, 2011 4:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5424930)
What was the HSR budget before Obama came President?
Zero?

All stimulus funds, including HSR, was added onto of an earlier budget, an increase of what was being allocated before. Restoring what was before isn't cutting.

This is nonsensical logic. It's like saying that changing the top tax rate to 90% isn't "raising taxes," it's "restoring what was there before."

When something is passed into law, it's passed into law. Changes from that are changes, it doesn't really matter what you call them. An increase from the current law is an increase, a cut from the current law is a cut.

dimondpark Sep 27, 2011 4:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesinclair (Post 5423318)
And then again in 2010, Governor brown ran on a pro-HSR platform. The GOp ran against it. Guess who won with an overwhelming victory?

But now Governor Brown is not anywhere near as supportive of the HSR in its current state as he was in 2010.

Since then, light has been shed on the financials of this project that are quite troubling to many who initially supported the project as well as to people such as myself, who only tepidly supported it in the beginning.

I might still support it, but only if the HSR leadership was replaced by more moderate, less arrogant voices that actually listen to community concerns and change the route accordingly and wont lie about the projected costs, projected ridership estimates, estimated time to build, estimated ticket fares and basically everything else.

202_Cyclist Sep 27, 2011 4:56 PM

electricron:
Quote:

Increasing taxes so they can increase spending was the way liberals once worked. Today, they're just the opposite, they spend money they don't have then demand more taxes to pay for it. What ever happen to spending what money you have?
It's very interesting this principal is only applied to keeping roads and bridges from crumbling, funding schools, and providing assistance to veterans. The George W. Bush $700B prescription drug bill certainly wasn't paid for, nor was the completely unnecessary $2 trillion Iraq war. On the other hand, if we want to spend $100M to build streetcars or $2B to improve intercity passenger rail, this is required to be paid for-- just not by raising taxes on the wealthiest two percent who have 23 percent of the nation's income.

Wizened Variations Sep 27, 2011 6:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5424989)
electricron:


It's very interesting this principal is only applied to keeping roads and bridges from crumbling, funding schools, and providing assistance to veterans. The George W. Bush $700B prescription drug bill certainly wasn't paid for, nor was the completely unnecessary $2 trillion Iraq war. On the other hand, if we want to spend $100M to build streetcars or $2B to improve intercity passenger rail, this is required to be paid for-- just not by raising taxes on the wealthiest two percent who have 23 percent of the nation's income.

I am still am still an idealist- but, maintaining that faith is getting harder by the month.

We, the worker bees and those who are on some kind of government dole, are being manipulated by the smartest minds that money can buy. We live in an age where the content of mass media entertainment, and mass media news is simply sold to advertisers and/or stockholder interests. Our age, too, has the most effective propoganda in the history of humanity- when viewed in conjuction with the 1.7 million people in prison- that is successfully managing to keep people passive while our great nation changes from a rich middle class society to a poor facist society.

Very bright people, who understand Jungian imagery, visual technique, timing, voice, etc., are the hired goons of the 21st Century. Physical controls, while lurking in the shadows, are no longer the center piece of how those in power make people obey their will. Today, control does not have to be in the form of police squads, and, hidden prisons. Instead, the tremendous pool of skills learned by Madison Avenue in selling lifestyle, etc., is being applied by agents of those with the money upon the masses with great success.

The fundamental desire of the rich, is, as it always has been, to preserve their capital and then pass that capital to their descendents.

Now, for whatever matrix of reasons, the US essentially has lost it's ability to finance itself, based upon the taxed earnings of the middle class. This reality means that the government has to become smaller while the middle class has to become richer in terms of better paying jobs. In addition, this means that the rich- those whose net worth is over, say $50,000,000- will have to loose some of their freedom to take profits at current, real, tax rates. The historic alternatives- while different due to the technology of their times- is to either have a form of communism, or to have a fascist oligarchy with no middle class.

The uber rich will not give up their money without using every tool that money can buy first. The former middle class, when the pleasures of widescreen TV, pocket PCs, and, processed foods no longer satisfy them, will eventually have courage in the face of an extremely powerful propoganda machine.

The chance of compromise is rapidly disappearing, and only compromise by all parties could help put the country on the right track.

Don't hold your breath.

electricron Sep 27, 2011 6:16 PM

Getting back on topic, CHSR, how much are the projected costs up to now?

202_Cyclist Sep 27, 2011 6:53 PM

Quote:

Getting back on topic, CHSR, how much are the projected costs up to now?
I'm still interested why streetcars, bike paths, and intercity passenger rail has to be paid for but endless Middle East wars and prescription drug entitlements signed into law by a Republican president doesn't.

California's high speed rail system is estimated to cost between $40B - $60B (the cost of capital and labor, with 12.3 unemployment in CA is relatively less now). The cost of not building high speed rail isn't zero. It's estimated that the alternative to building high speed rail is spending $90B - $100B in highway and airport improvements and capacity expansions.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/bay-...authority-says

Bringing Highway 99 to interstate standards in the Central Valley is estimated to cost $25B. Widening I-5 in San Diego County, alone, is expected to cost between $3.3B - $4.5B.

Spending tens of billions of dollars on more highway/airport projects also doesn't do one thing about the $300B each year we spend on foreign oil, a huge transfer of US wealth to other countries-- many of which are hostile to the US.

Wizened Variations Sep 27, 2011 8:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5425099)
Getting back on topic, CHSR, how much are the projected costs up to now?

The price is not relevant, because the electorate is not in panic mode as of yet. In Sack of Tomatoes, other issues such as medicaid and the very high tax rate are center stage.

That, sir, is why HSR in California is still being fought: most have not seen the "handwriting on the wall" yet, and, IMO, still believe that the auto age will not diminish, that the California economy will recover in the near term, etc.

As I have said before, IMO if the masses of voters thought that this project could be built and bring in tens of thousands of jobs right now, the HSR could be built out at half of the estimated price (say $40 billion) and people could be building it by hand to get a pay check.

Until that point, real estate interests, conservative idealists, etc., will prevent anything concrete from being built (unless they make money out of the deal- and that is what it all about...)

Read "The Octopus" sometime. It talks about railroad corruption in 1900 towards farmers and pricing.

Building HSR today is no different, other than there are more corrupt players who are preominantly in the realestate business and, there appears to be no single ironed willed samaritan.

Hence my point about what is happening in the economy.

mfastx Sep 27, 2011 8:57 PM

The longer the project is postponed, the higher the price will be. I don't understand why people complain about projects going above budget, especially when they are postponed.

JDRCRASH Sep 29, 2011 4:21 AM

^ The fact that people are still arguing whether HSR makes sense in the current environment just shows how clueless Americans are, and how Obama has been a pathetic weenie in defending his mass transit policies.

For once, I wish a certain LA troll (who shall go unnamed, of course) was here to put us out of our misery by telling us how dumb we are.

waltlantz Sep 29, 2011 5:57 PM

I still say that if you want to get people to buy into HSR, you should show them that existing regional inter-city rail can work FIRST.

Amtrak needs to be overhauled and reinvigorated. Have that run efficently then you can probably sell the nation on the idea. Afterall, senators in the breadbasket are NOT going to sign off on a fancy train that only services the coasts.

I don't see how complaining on how "clueless" americans are is gonna make any headway. Especially in an era of balooning debts and existing infrastructure that is already crumbling.

202_Cyclist Sep 29, 2011 6:25 PM

waltlantz:
Quote:

I still say that if you want to get people to buy into HSR, you should show them that existing regional inter-city rail can work FIRST.
Yes, like how Amtrak's ridership is up 6% in 2011 compared with 2010 and every month Amtrak sets new ridership records. All of this at a time when the vehicle miles traveled by private automobiles decreased 1.5% last year. This doesn't stop RepuB(P)licans from calling Amtrak a "Soviet-style rail system" and wanting to privatize the most valuable routes. Facts don't matter to these people when they have their Ayn Rand-ideology.

Amtrak reports record ridership
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...101107149.html

Amtrak rolls toward record ridership
http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_ne...cord-ridership

202_Cyclist Sep 29, 2011 7:38 PM

Grapevine train route could save $4 billion (Bakersfield Californian)
 
Grapevine train route could save $4 billion

By John Cox Californian
Wednesday, Sep 28 2011
Bakersfield Californian

"Building a high-speed train route over the Grapevine instead of through the Antelope Valley could save up to $4 billion, according to a July progress report released Wednesday.

A conceptual study identified more than one feasible alignment over the mountain pass, prompting engineers on the project to propose a more in-depth study of the Grapevine proposal, originally rejected in 2005.

But missing from the conceptual study, as of July anyway, was a close look at what effect a Grapevine route would have on the project's overall economics..."

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/busi...save-4-billion

pesto Oct 3, 2011 6:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5421791)
This isn't high speed rail, so I didn't know which thread to post this article in. I understand the concerns about costs and additional responsibilities but the Pacific Surfliner is the second busiest passenger rail route in the US. I assume anything that improves coordination and planning among the fragmented local authorities will help improve investment.

I'm an absolute strong supporter of high speed rail but someone said the other day on the California High Speed Rail blog that improving the LA-San Diego service to 160 mph average speeds should have been the first priority of the CA HSR Authority. This makes a lot of sense. If you could get from LA-San Diego in an hour or OC to San Diego in 45 minutes, it would have encouraged a lot more support for high speed rail, as well as allowing new commuting and work patterns.

More rail service could spring from new agency


San Diego Union-Tribune
9/24/2011

"A plan is in the works that could lead to a significant expansion of rail service between San Diego and Los Angeles.

Regional transportation agencies are considering joining forces for a super authority that would oversee 351 miles of coastal rail between San Diego and San Luis Obisbo.

Among the many changes forged by that authority could be as many as 27 additional daily train trips along the San Diego-Los Angeles corridor, officials said...."

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2...e-southern-ca/

This sounds useful. While connecting LA and the Bay by rail is of doubtful benefit, improving rail within the LA and Bay areas should be a high priority. Assuming the absurd HSR route isn't used (which makes it take 1/2 hour longer from Irvine to SD than from LA to SD) this could be a route that competes with cars and air.

202_Cyclist Oct 6, 2011 11:23 AM

High-speed rail route to be revised (LA Times)
 
High-speed rail route to be revised


By Ralph Vartabedian
Los Angeles Times
October 6, 2011

"The proposed California bullet train will undergo major design changes, involving more than half of the route that traverses the Central Valley, the authority building the system said Wednesday.

The plan for building a 114-mile segment of the system between Fresno and Bakersfield was released in August, but encountered heavy criticism from citizens groups, local cities, major land owners and financial experts. The California High-Speed Rail Authority, responding to public feedback, said it would issue a new plan for that section next spring..."

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/...Environment%29

The California High Speed Rail blog also has a post about this here:
http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/10/chs...bypass-option/

pesto Oct 6, 2011 6:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5435249)
High-speed rail route to be revised


By Ralph Vartabedian
Los Angeles Times
October 6, 2011

"The proposed California bullet train will undergo major design changes, involving more than half of the route that traverses the Central Valley, the authority building the system said Wednesday.

The plan for building a 114-mile segment of the system between Fresno and Bakersfield was released in August, but encountered heavy criticism from citizens groups, local cities, major land owners and financial experts. The California High-Speed Rail Authority, responding to public feedback, said it would issue a new plan for that section next spring..."

http://www.latimes.com/news/science/...Environment%29

The California High Speed Rail blog also has a post about this here:
http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/10/chs...bypass-option/

Thank you Jerry Brown! Hopefully this is just the first step in changing over the management and direction of this project.

aquablue Oct 7, 2011 4:08 AM

The problem is, most Americans have not experienced HSR first hand. If they did, they would be in love and demanding it. Come to Europe or Asia, you will see how badly you are missing out. There is nothing better, it is the civilized way to travel.

202_Cyclist Oct 7, 2011 3:59 PM

Fullerton could be home to new Vegas train (OC Register)
 
This looks like a 100% scam. I’m far from certain about the Desert Xpress, and this make the Desert Xpress look like a pretty solid proposal. I hope not one cent of public money is spent on this.

Fullerton could be home to new Vegas train

By MICHAEL MELLO
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
10/7/2011

"FULLERTON – City officials have jumped on board with a proposal to run regular train service between Southern California and Las Vegas.

http://images.onset.freedom.com/ocre...ji12jrm5.2.jpg
Fullerton city officals are moving ahead with talks to make Fullerton's train station the home of a new Vegas-bound train line. Dubbed the "X Train," the service is planned to feature first-class style seating. The trip from Fullerton to Las Vegas would be about 4 1/2 hours. (Image courtesy of the OC Register)

Fullerton's downtown station is one of the few stops on the proposed service's route, and city officials see an opportunity to hit the jackpot with Vegas-bound travelers taking advantage of downtown businesses.

The service has been dubbed the "X Train" by Las Vegas Railway Express Inc., the private company looking to start trains rolling in late 2012..."

http://www.ocregister.com/news/vegas...fullerton.html

Hamilton Oct 9, 2011 3:52 AM

Seems like the last thing this project needs is more redesigning and navel-gazing and more committees and meetings. If construction doesn't start soon, inflation and rising building costs will make the bond issue too small to do any meaningful construction. That will be followed by politicians revoking the bond issue, and the project disappearing back into the ether.

202_Cyclist Oct 9, 2011 3:17 PM

Ridership key to high-speed rail's green success (Fresno Bee)
 
This article misses several points. First, the development of high speed rail is going to be built as the same time as LA County's 30/10 transit investments are built and other rail projects throughout the state like San Francisco's central subway is developed. High speed rail, along with all the other transit investments throughout the state will give CA residents more options if they choose to forego a car. Second, high speed rail serving cities throughout CA and, especially the Central Valley, will encourage much denser infill development (see Fresno's ambitious plans) around the stations. This will encourage walking and further transit ridership rather than driving. This article absolutely misses the trip reduction impact through better land-use planning.

Ridership key to high-speed rail's green success


By Tim Sheehan
Fresno Bee
Oct. 08, 2011

"High-speed rail could help cut air pollution in California -- if the system succeeds in getting enough people out of their cars.

Planners with the state's High-Speed Rail Authority expect that the electric trains could reduce traffic on the state's roadways by 2.5% by 2035.

Each vehicle-mile traveled creates emissions that foul the air with greenhouse gases, smog-forming chemicals and fine particles such as soot and dust..."

http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/10/08/...uestioned.html

pesto Oct 9, 2011 5:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5438608)
This article misses several points. First, the development of high speed rail is going to be built as the same time as LA County's 30/10 transit investments are built and other rail projects throughout the state like San Francisco's central subway is developed. High speed rail, along with all the other transit investments throughout the state will give CA residents more options if they choose to forego a car. Second, high speed rail serving cities throughout CA and, especially the Central Valley, will encourage much denser infill development (see Fresno's ambitious plans) around the stations. This will encourage walking and further transit ridership rather than driving. This article absolutely misses the trip reduction impact through better land-use planning.

Ridership key to high-speed rail's green success


By Tim Sheehan
Fresno Bee
Oct. 08, 2011

"High-speed rail could help cut air pollution in California -- if the system succeeds in getting enough people out of their cars.

Planners with the state's High-Speed Rail Authority expect that the electric trains could reduce traffic on the state's roadways by 2.5% by 2035.

Each vehicle-mile traveled creates emissions that foul the air with greenhouse gases, smog-forming chemicals and fine particles such as soot and dust..."

http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/10/08/...uestioned.html

A couple of comments:

It must be the final death agonies of HSR when we talk about increasing density around the one train station in Fresno and the one train station in Bakersfield. First, it's not going to happen; second, it's immaterial; make that less than immaterial; third, what kind of idiot is going to want to get packed into high-density housing in Bakersfield so that you can be near the HSR to take you to, say, San Jose, which you will use once a decade?

And the central subway in SF? Please, two of the candidates for mayor want to kill it outright in mid-development and the others are hemming and hawing. Even the transit crowd thinks it's a mistake. It's about a mile long and goes pretty much nowhere, for billions of dollars and with essentially zero net increase in ridership over what is now on the bus. How is this material to building a 600 mile rail system across the length of the state? Actually, the two projects are probably more similar than I give it credit for.

N830MH Oct 10, 2011 10:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by aquablue (Post 5436409)
The problem is, most Americans have not experienced HSR first hand. If they did, they would be in love and demanding it. Come to Europe or Asia, you will see how badly you are missing out. There is nothing better, it is the civilized way to travel.

They never was. I am never rode on HSR before. Is that 300 or 400mph? Is that a fastest train? It will save the time. I think HSR will be very successful. Is that nonstop from LA to Bay Area? Can they have a express line?


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