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Wizened Variations May 30, 2011 1:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roadcruiser1 (Post 5295995)
The only other companies that I can think of is Union Pacific, and BNSF I don't know if they want to do it though.

Four of the top 5 US rail companies: UP, BNSF, CSX, and NS have the inhouse ability to build rail very quickly. Sometime watch any of those four put down rail on a wide ROW that they own- when they are serious.

Say 50 to 100 land movers and dozers. 24 hour lighting. Workers working 3 days on and 3 days off 12 hour days. Have them lay a 'work line' over which they run track laying trains, ballast trains, tie insertion trains. The line would become a 110 mph line with a reduced but not eliminated number of grade crossings.

Put the first high speed line down next to it, super elevating the track as necessary while running passenger trains 4 or 6 times per day on the 110 track off of which you build the high speed rail line. Build a good dirt road on the outside fence side of the bullet train line and work there with trucks while placing massive concrete supports from cranes on rail cars on the 110 mph track between say 900p and 5a. Work the combined operation 24x7.

This is, of course, politically incorrect, but the method of building is a modification of how rail lines were built in the 1860s-1870s, where the first line was laid as fast as 10 or even 16 miles per day (of course it was rickity and repair (upgrade) trains and crews had a lot of work left to do).

We just have to have the national will. Right now, we have only the political dream which is.................well...............political. Of course, we are going to be getting a little hungry in the next few years, and, people will develope that 'national will.'.

Roadcruiser1 May 30, 2011 3:50 AM

Actually I had done some reading BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway) is actually extremely interested in high speed rail unlike most other railroad companies. Who knows maybe BNSF might become the high speed railroad pioneer of the United States. They might have a massive stake in high speed rail for the entire continental United States in the future. In fact I won't find it shocking if BNSF made more money then Amtrak, because high speed rail might be more reliable for them, and in the end the company might become extremely rich in doing it.

Another company interested in high speed rail, and would have a large stake in it also would be NS (Norfolk Southern) which also sees a massive potential in it like BNSF. CSX, and UP (Union Pacific) aren't interested in high speed rail, but it won't matter, because if you combine Norfolk Southern Eastern Seaboard ROW with BNSF ROW you would actually have ROW from the Eastern to the Western Seaboard, and thus if they both work together, and electrify all existing ROW's for high speed rail you would have continental high speed rail.

hammersklavier May 30, 2011 4:33 AM

Sounds good in theory...but remember those ROWs and easements which exist can rarely (although not never) be used for super-110 mph HSR, due to various issues, mostly related to acceptable cants and curvature. 110 mph does tend to be a global average for intercity passenger running on conventional tracks.

OTOH with only four national rail operators an en masse electrification campaign is not out of the realm of possibility. Remember to secure the raw materials needed for diesel these companies also operate some of the biggest oil companies you've never heard of and they've got to be feeling the fuel prices pinch, too.

Nexis4Jersey May 30, 2011 4:45 AM

BNSF , NS , and CN and several smaller freight companies don't have any issues with commuter or HSR in the ROW as long as you separate the tracks or add tracks they don't mind. Its a win / win for both the Transit and Freight company in the Capacity dept...

JDRCRASH May 31, 2011 4:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey (Post 5296896)
BNSF , NS , and CN and several smaller freight companies don't have any issues with commuter or HSR in the ROW as long as you separate the tracks or add tracks they don't mind. Its a win / win for both the Transit and Freight company in the Capacity dept...

This is why track sharing with freight isn't a good idea. Too many lawsuits and problems. It's less expensive, but in the long run separation is what's best.

Wizened Variations May 31, 2011 2:51 PM

IMO, the basic question- aside from questioning the mega-millions that are spent before dirt is turned over- is how should the lines be built.

The US, in general, has lost it's ability to visualize massive transportation projects. Often, the 'public' primarily is concerned with how construction will interfere with traffic patterns, what noise the construction will generate, what effects the construction will have on property values, etc. This tends to produce 'micro-management' and enables property developers, among others, to have too much influence on ROW, station location, and, station design

This, in turn, greatly affects how projects are built out. Construction is done only during daylight hours, with small pieces of equipment (I am continually surprised how many small backhoes are used in Denver's Fastrack project, for example) Projects become localized, with too much time (cost) and material spent on working on, say, a single flyover.

In Denver, the Eagle Consortium is a good first step towards constructing large public transit projects, but, efforts still are caught up from the mediocre design they inherited when they won the job bid. I suspect that despite their internal analyses (which IMO must be far better than the studies given to them by RTD) finding large style railway BUILDERS with a proven track record, outside of the major freight railroads themselves, is proving difficult. This also drives up the price, and, forces still more real estate developer and political involvement.

When I was a little kid (and I am not young now) I remember seeing interstates being built in the early '60s. Construction would literally go on for miles between cities with hour long traffic slow downs for earthmovers to cross packed dirt paths across two lane roads. (One Sunday or holiday, I remember traveling across Nevada by car and my father telling me that there was a line of parked construction equipment a half a mile long.)

So for High Speed Rail to be built in a cost efficient manner, at least two changes have to occurr:

1st) The US has to rebuild it's network of road and rail construction companies. The network of contractors and subcontractors needs to become robust. Regretably, this can only happen by actually building projects, as the network has to be built on experience, not media or government agency hype.

2nd) The public has to accept the need to change how we transport ourselves. This can only occurr through a sharp increase in the price of petroleum in real dollars, a significant decrease in the wealth of the bottom 70-80% of the population, or a combination of both.

Until that time, the major expense will not be in construction, but, will continue to be in 'studies'. and in the political payoffs those studies entail. These studies are 'cheap' in the sense that concrete and steel cost more, but, add immeasurably to the final cost of build out.

I am confident these changes will come soon. :(

glowrock Jun 1, 2011 4:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wizened Variations (Post 5298389)
IMO, the basic question- aside from questioning the mega-millions that are spent before dirt is turned over- is how should the lines be built.

The US, in general, has lost it's ability to visualize massive transportation projects. Often, the 'public' primarily is concerned with how construction will interfere with traffic patterns, what noise the construction will generate, what effects the construction will have on property values, etc. This tends to produce 'micro-management' and enables property developers, among others, to have too much influence on ROW, station location, and, station design

This, in turn, greatly affects how projects are built out. Construction is done only during daylight hours, with small pieces of equipment (I am continually surprised how many small backhoes are used in Denver's Fastrack project, for example) Projects become localized, with too much time (cost) and material spent on working on, say, a single flyover.

In Denver, the Eagle Consortium is a good first step towards constructing large public transit projects, but, efforts still are caught up from the mediocre design they inherited when they won the job bid. I suspect that despite their internal analyses (which IMO must be far better than the studies given to them by RTD) finding large style railway BUILDERS with a proven track record, outside of the major freight railroads themselves, is proving difficult. This also drives up the price, and, forces still more real estate developer and political involvement.

When I was a little kid (and I am not young now) I remember seeing interstates being built in the early '60s. Construction would literally go on for miles between cities with hour long traffic slow downs for earthmovers to cross packed dirt paths across two lane roads. (One Sunday or holiday, I remember traveling across Nevada by car and my father telling me that there was a line of parked construction equipment a half a mile long.)

So for High Speed Rail to be built in a cost efficient manner, at least two changes have to occurr:

1st) The US has to rebuild it's network of road and rail construction companies. The network of contractors and subcontractors needs to become robust. Regretably, this can only happen by actually building projects, as the network has to be built on experience, not media or government agency hype.

2nd) The public has to accept the need to change how we transport ourselves. This can only occurr through a sharp increase in the price of petroleum in real dollars, a significant decrease in the wealth of the bottom 70-80% of the population, or a combination of both.

Until that time, the major expense will not be in construction, but, will continue to be in 'studies'. and in the political payoffs those studies entail. These studies are 'cheap' in the sense that concrete and steel cost more, but, add immeasurably to the final cost of build out.

I am confident these changes will come soon. :(

I can't wait for there to be 200+ million poor people in the United States so we can fulfill your negative fantasies, Wizened Variations. I mean, why not have a tiny percentage of wealthy and a massive majority of poor people who are completely reliant upon mass transit to get around? Cars too expensive? Awesome! Gas at $8/gallon? Fantastic! Now one question for you: What about those things that are MADE from petroleum? What about the transportation of said goods? No worries, the vast majority of Americans couldn't afford even the basics of life in your fantasy world! :rolleyes:

I'm sorry, but the era of massive government-funded projects are gone, at least the massive ones like the interstate highway system and the like. Oh yes, and the railroads. How the hell do you think they were built? Massive amounts of what more or less was slave labor! You want to go back to those conditions? Perhaps you do. Maybe you just want to see Chinese-style "We build it, we bulldoze everything, you move or you literally die" kind of ROW acquisition. Is that what you want?

Aaron (Glowrock)

Wizened Variations Jun 1, 2011 8:17 PM

Pretty well defines the next 20 years. Not 200 million poor, IMO, maybe 150 million whose worth =s the top 400-500 fortunes.

Say! Isn't that the way it is now?

Make food stamps hard to get, reduce unemployment to 26 weeks, clamp down on medicade and disability and we're about there.

We may have a couple of horrid choices: do we want people to work while the presses are printing dollars at light speed, or we we run the printing presses ad nauseum and have people stay at home? If we want people to work, we, as a Nation, are going to have to get people to work either for government largess they recieve or for less money and benefits.

The accelerating rate of change is not necessarily going to be about consuming fancy gadjets, i.e., whether we are in front a computer screen or a TV screen we still have to eat. Jobs, IMO, will continue to 'downgrade' in quality with a progressively greater percentage of families and singles doubling and even tripling up, as people live now in too much of the world.

This, to me, means that our getting the basics: food, shelter, public safety, and, transportation, will change towards less real cost.

Transportation projects, for example, might be built with tent cities of unemployed people following the work, waiting for THAT job (occurred during the early 1930s) Being expected to work 12 hours per day- if you are lucky enough to get a job- may become more accepted (Henry Ford's workers got the first 8 hour day).

I only cast this out here to make the point that while this does not HAVE to happen, we must increasingly plan for the possibility that it will. In the transportation arena, how can we move more people at a lower cost? How do we account for infrastructural expense in this cost, i.e., what does our driving a car on a government built road, riding a bus on that road, taking a light rail, or a commuter line actually cost? How do we leave ROW to expand rapidly, if we must?

Get us truly motivated and projects like putting HSR in the San Joaquin Valley will be duck soup. Things get bad enough, and we will bulldoze straight through those $1 million house + suburbs and replace the freeway system in a decade.

However, as a pessimist, I believe we will steadily become poorer, debate endlessly, and wake up some day saying, "We did nothing..."

Pass the Lee and Parrins, I am eating a NY strip.:(

Beta_Magellan Jun 2, 2011 12:20 AM

Wizened, if everyone gets a lot poorer in the future our intercity transportation problems are solved by people forgoing intercity travel, not by building new infrastructure.

Can we get back on topic and leave prophecy to the prophets?

202_Cyclist Jun 5, 2011 3:09 PM

Central Valley start for California high-speed rail proves a political challenge
 
Central Valley start for California high-speed rail proves a political challenge

By David Siders
Sacramento Bee
Jun. 5, 2011

"FRESNO – The plan for high-speed rail in California is to start on the Fresno side of the San Joaquin River, between Bakersfield and Chowchilla, and go until the money runs out.

The Central Valley, for many reasons, is a practical place to begin. The land is broad and flat and relatively inexpensive, and the federal government, which is contributing billions of dollars, requires it.

The first section will one day form the spine of a system connecting Los Angeles to San Francisco, officials say. But there is no money guaranteed to build the rest, and the initial tracks, through towns like Wasco and Madera, are conspicuously far from where most people live..."

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/05/367...ate%20Politics

Sonofsoma Jun 7, 2011 1:51 AM

MICHAEL BARONE: CALIFORNIA HIGH-SPEED RAIL 'INSANE'

..."I become more appalled the more I learn about it. The latest report of the state Legislative Analyst’s Office makes clear that this is crazy"...

Full article: http://washingtonexaminer.com/blogs/...#ixzz1OY9fbX2J

Legislative Analyst’s Report: http://www.lao.ca.gov/reports/2011/t...il_051011.aspx

northbay Jun 7, 2011 3:56 AM

^ that report has been out for almost a month now.

its flawed and has been criticized by the federal and much of the state government:

http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/05/leg...ker-treatment/

http://www.cahsrblog.com/2011/05/fed...2012-deadline/

202_Cyclist Jun 14, 2011 1:41 PM

High-speed rail would go through city along I-15 (North County Times)
 
High-speed rail would go through city along I-15

By DAVID GARRICK
June 13, 2011
North County Times


"A high-speed rail line proposed for California would travel through Escondido along Interstate 15 instead of of Centre City Parkway to avoid dividing the city and demolishing dozens of houses and businesses, state officials said Thursday.

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townn...review-300.jpg

Running the line along the freeway means the Escondido station ---- one of only two stations planned for San Diego County ---- would be farther from downtown and the Sprinter station than state officials would prefer.

During a public workshop Thursday at Escondido's arts center, state officials displayed a large map showing that the proposed site of Escondido's 1,400-foot-long, rectangular station would be just east of the freeway and extend north and south from Washington Avenue..."

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/es...d9184e18b.html

202_Cyclist Jun 22, 2011 4:04 PM

Madera Co. board favors Hwy. 99 rail route (Fresno Bee)
 
Madera Co. board favors Hwy. 99 rail route

By Tim Sheehan
The Fresno Bee
6/21/2011

"Madera County supervisors cast their lot Tuesday for a high-speed rail route along the Union Pacific rail line and Highway 99 between Fresno and Merced as the least disruptive for county farmers..."

http://media.fresnobee.com/smedia/20...SBXiO.St.8.gif
Image courtesy of the Fresno Bee.

http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/06/21/...rs-hwy-99.html

JDRCRASH Jun 22, 2011 10:58 PM

^ A straighter and quicker route that ALSO avoids more NIMBYs? Sounds good to me.

Gordo Jun 23, 2011 12:41 AM

^It doesn't avoid NIMBYs, because Union Pacific is the biggest NIMBY of all - and the only one protected by federal-level protection from eminent domain. That vote is incredibly worrisome, as it's most likely just a tactic to try and kill the project again, but without anyone having to come out and say that's what they're trying to do.

Political_R Jun 23, 2011 9:03 AM

Using the Hwy 99 route, you would run next to peoples homes right next to the ROW and cut right through the towns of Madera and Cowchilla. UPs tracks are almost a quarter mile from the Highway. It would run along the Highway outside of those two cities though. BNSF tracks completely avoid the larger towns but it is somewhat of a diversion. If the farm bureau wants a Highway 99 route, talk to UP first. They have already given the Authority the poilte version of the bird so to speak.

JDRCRASH Jun 23, 2011 10:40 PM

We shouldn't always bow to UP's stupidity. They block almost ANYTHING that might share their ROW.

electricron Jun 24, 2011 3:39 AM

http://media.fresnobee.com/smedia/20...SBXiO.St.8.gif

Take another, a second, look at the map. Remember they're building 200 mph HSR. Will there be any train stations between Merced and Fresno that any HSR train will ever stop at? It's my belief the BNSF corridor should allow higher speeds than the UP, if only due to less density adjacent to it. If they're were planning on building 80 mph or 110 mph HSR, I can see the logic using the UP corridor. But not with 200+ mph trains.

202_Cyclist Jul 20, 2011 2:33 PM

Who Will Ride an Alternative to 'Market-Driven Sprawl'? (NY Times)
 
Interesting article but sprawl is market-driven only if we ignore: 1) the hundreds of billions of dollars in mortgage tax deductions given to homeowners each year, 2) the substantial subsidies for driving and artificially cheap gas, 3) subsidized infrastucture (electricity grid, fiber optic, water/sewer). 4) restrictive zoning that prevents a range of housing choices and more housing in cities and inner suburbs, and 5) the way we fund schools via property taxes, ensuring wealthy suburbs have the best schools. Other than all of this, yes, sprawl is a market-driven choice made independently by people.


Who Will Ride an Alternative to 'Market-Driven Sprawl'?

By SAQIB RAHIM
July 19, 2011
NY Times

"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Where Highway 99 meets the state capital here, a motorist has choices. He can pivot toward the San Francisco Bay, veer inland to the Nevada border, or ride the flatlands south toward Los Angeles.

It's an important junction for any California driver -- and, in a sense, a symbol of California's climate choices.

The state already has plans to widen Highway 99 to deal with increased traffic in the coming decades. But boosters of high-speed rail for the state say no amount of road expansion will be able to serve a larger population.."

http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/07...ive-65294.html

202_Cyclist Jul 21, 2011 11:12 AM

Sen. Rubio backs rail along Hwy. 99 (Fresno Bee)
 
Sen. Rubio backs rail along Hwy. 99


By Lewis Griswold
Fresno Bee
7/20/2011

"A South Valley state senator is throwing his support behind a Highway 99 alignment for high-speed rail tracks from Fresno to Bakersfield.

A route that includes the Union Pacific Railroad corridor "has the fewest impacts to homeowners, farmers and Central Valley communities," Sen. Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, wrote in a letter to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood..."

http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/07/20/...along-hwy.html

jg6544 Jul 21, 2011 5:01 PM

Question for Mr. Barone: If anyone suggested building a new freeway parallel to the 5 or building new airports in L.A. and the Bay Area because the 5 corridor, SFO, and LAX are overcrowded, would anyone stop to ask how much money they'd make? No. CA is building high-speed rail because we need a third transportation mode between San Diego and Sacramento.

ardecila Jul 21, 2011 5:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5325278)
^It doesn't avoid NIMBYs, because Union Pacific is the biggest NIMBY of all - and the only one protected by federal-level protection from eminent domain. That vote is incredibly worrisome, as it's most likely just a tactic to try and kill the project again, but without anyone having to come out and say that's what they're trying to do.

Apart from Madera, and 2 or 3 other hamlets along the route, the state can very cheaply seize a swath of land adjacent to UP's ROW. I can't speak for California specifically, but agricultural land is mad cheap, especially if you're expanding an existing corridor (you're not dividing any farms, just making them slightly smaller).

The environmental impact of using an existing corridor is also much lower, which saves money on mitigation/remediation projects.

However, in Madera, the line should be built on an elevated structure inside of UP's ROW.

The Supreme Court has ruled that railroads are protected from eminent domain, but the purpose of this is to prevent local governments from breaking the continuity of a rail line that they don't like. As long as the seizure of property doesn't impede Union Pacific's operations in any meaningful way, I doubt UP's legal challenge would hold up in court. At any rate, the Authority needs to hire some lawyers to look into the relevant statutes and case law. A few million in legal fees could save a few hundred million in land acquisition costs and increased construction costs.

202_Cyclist Jul 22, 2011 4:16 PM

Council concerned east side station would wipe out downtown (Gilroy Dispatch)
 
Council concerned east side station would wipe out downtown

By Mark Powell
Gilroy Dispatch
7/21/2011

"One question was prevalent during the Gilroy City Council's first look at a $200,000 visioning project meant to examine two possible high-speed rail station locations in Gilroy: Would a station built east of U.S. Highway 101 destroy downtown?

http://www.gilroydispatch.com/conten.../highspeed.jpg
Image courtesy of the Gilroy Distpatch.

The project, run by city-hired Berkeley-based Design, Community and Environment, didn't offer any predictions. Council members, however, some smarting from the update's lack of depth, gave their own answers during Tuesday night's report at City Hall..."

http://www.gilroydispatch.com/news/2...e-out-downtown

SPIREINTHEHOLE! Aug 1, 2011 9:49 PM

Slower high-speed rail encouraged by officials

July 27, 2011|By Michael Cabanatuan, Chronicle Staff Writer

Quote:

Regional transportation officials plan to push for a scaled-back high-speed rail system on the Peninsula that also would accommodate a modernized Caltrain with a minimum of new construction.

"We see this as the way forward to save this project," said John Grubb, a senior vice president of the Bay Area Council, a pro-business advocacy group.
http://articles.sfgate.com/2011-07-2...ns-rail-system

Support growing for ‘blended’ rail

August 01, 2011, 03:30 AM By Bill Silverfarb Daily Journal staff

Quote:

A plan to have Caltrain share its tracks with high-speed rail trains is gaining steam as the lawmaker who authored the bond measure to fund the statewide system is now on board with the idea, depending on a capacity study the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board is set to release later this month.

While that plan may be gaining favor, Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said the California High-Speed Rail Authority, however, needs to present a feasible business plan for the project come October or face calls of ditching it outright.
http://www.smdailyjournal.com/articl...2%80%99%20rail

Am I being overly optimistic to think this could actually be good news. It would only affect this 50-mile segment and might possible stave off much of the opposition in the peninsula (Particularly the nimby townships).

gtbassett Aug 1, 2011 9:57 PM

^Those are terrible proposals.

We must not let people whose real interest is to destroy any future HSR programs in the US implement half-assed policies in our own HSR system. Slowing it down is absolutely ridiculously stupid.

LosAngelesSportsFan Aug 1, 2011 10:29 PM

agreed 100% gtbassett

glowrock Aug 2, 2011 12:14 AM

It's stupid, but I wonder how much slower it will REALLY be given that it's only the last 50 miles or so of the system. What will the slowdown be in terms of minutes added to a trip? If it's only 5-10 minutes, is it really a big deal, if it shuts the freaking NIMBYs up?

Aaron (Glowrock)

emathias Aug 2, 2011 1:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ardecila (Post 5354034)
Apart from Madera, and 2 or 3 other hamlets along the route, the state can very cheaply seize a swath of land adjacent to UP's ROW. I can't speak for California specifically, but agricultural land is mad cheap, especially if you're expanding an existing corridor (you're not dividing any farms, just making them slightly smaller).
...

I don't know how wide it would need to be, but for a 50-foot ROW, it'd be about 6-7 acres of land per linear mile. Good agricultural land can run anywhere from $3,000/acre to $12,000/acre. So a round-number estimate is maybe $60,000/mile in acquisition. In some locations, you might have to rework dirt access roads, too, but that probably wouldn't much more than double the cost of whatever stretches needed that. Obviously a 100-ft ROW would double the land cost. The survey and contract work could add a fair bit to that, too, but it wouldn't double it (at least not in most places).

Gordo Aug 2, 2011 1:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by glowrock (Post 5365931)
It's stupid, but I wonder how much slower it will REALLY be given that it's only the last 50 miles or so of the system. What will the slowdown be in terms of minutes added to a trip? If it's only 5-10 minutes, is it really a big deal, if it shuts the freaking NIMBYs up?

Aaron (Glowrock)

You can't think of it as a good faith argument, unless they're willing to put something legally binding in writing. As it exists now, this "solution" would require a new statewide proposition to pass, as the time from LA-SF would exceed that required by proposition 1A. These folks know that, and their hope is that a new proposition could be tailored in a way to fail, or upon passage, invalidate proposition 1A. The groups that have actually been the most adamant about filing lawsuits and trying to block the project at every turn (those from Menlo Park, Atherton, and some groups from Palo Alto) have not even declared to be supportive of this plan, so I'm not sure what the point would be of even considering it.

Lipani Aug 2, 2011 5:22 PM

^ The same situation would exist here if HSR was planned to go along the coast with Amtrak/Coaster/Metrolink. Nimbys from La Jolla to Irvine would go out of their way to kill it.

pesto Aug 2, 2011 6:53 PM

It would be interesting to have a new statewide vote on HSR, with the new cost estimates and estimated prices for travel and proposals to build-out the Central Valley first. A big victory could pretty well silence the critics.

electricron Aug 2, 2011 8:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5366664)
It would be interesting to have a new statewide vote on HSR, with the new cost estimates and estimated prices for travel and proposals to build-out the Central Valley first. A big victory could pretty well silence the critics.

Why would a new referendum silence the critics when the last one didn't?:burstbubble

202_Cyclist Aug 2, 2011 9:20 PM

California lawmakers travel to China to study high-speed rail (LA Times)
 
I support high speed rail and I think it is an important transportation project for the state but this trip seems a little tone-deaf after the tragic crash last month in China.

California lawmakers travel to China to study high-speed rail

Los Angeles Times
By Patrick McGreevy
8/1/2011

"A group of state lawmakers has flown to China to see if California can learn anything from that country about building a high-speed rail system.

But the lesson may be about what not to do: the state senators are arriving in a country mourning an accident last month in which two Chinese bullet trains collided, killing at least 39 people and injuring 200.

The delegation includes Democrats Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Lou Correa of Santa Ana and is being paid for by the Chinese Ministry of Railways..."

drifting sun Aug 3, 2011 1:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5366817)
I support high speed rail and I think it is an important transportation project for the state but this trip seems a little tone-deaf after the tragic crash last month in China.

California lawmakers travel to China to study high-speed rail

Los Angeles Times
By Patrick McGreevy
8/1/2011

"A group of state lawmakers has flown to China to see if California can learn anything from that country about building a high-speed rail system.

But the lesson may be about what not to do: the state senators are arriving in a country mourning an accident last month in which two Chinese bullet trains collided, killing at least 39 people and injuring 200.

The delegation includes Democrats Kevin De Leon of Los Angeles, Ron Calderon of Montebello and Lou Correa of Santa Ana and is being paid for by the Chinese Ministry of Railways..."

For HSR safety and reliability, no one comes close to touching the Shinkansen; only one derailment of passenger trains in its entire history due to an earthquake (no one died). Even countries like Germany have not had as much success on the safety front with their rail. We should look to Japan (for trains, not for advice on nuclear reactor safety).

202_Cyclist Aug 4, 2011 9:45 PM

The great high-speed rail lie (SF Chronicle)
 
The great high-speed rail lie

http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/20...5954_part6.jpg
France's TGV takes two hours, 38 minutes to travel 430 miles. (Image courtesy of the SF Chronicle)

Roger Christensen
San Francisco Chronicle
August 3, 2011

"In 2008, voters approved a $10 billion bond to begin construction of a bullet train from Los Angeles to San Francisco that would make that trip in less than three hours. So who knew that by 2011 the general consensus would be that the project is an ill-conceived, mismanaged boondoggle?

Former Amtrak spokesman and Reason Foundation writer Joseph Vranich knew. In 2008, before the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, he called the project "science fiction." He said the train won't travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in less than three hours because that exceeds the speed of all existing high-speed rail..."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...EDTD1KID15.DTL

bvpcvm Aug 4, 2011 11:12 PM

^^^ As must as I'd like to see CAHSR come to fruition, this guy's statement that the distance from SFO to LA is the same as Paris to Lyon - "430 miles" apart just doesn't sound right. In fact, according to Google Maps, by road, it's 466 *kilometers*. That's about 280 miles.

Having said that, 432 miles (SFO to LA) / 3 hours = 144 mph (not counting time for stops, acceleration, etc), which doesn't sound too out of line.

drifting sun Aug 5, 2011 2:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bvpcvm (Post 5369214)
^^^ As must as I'd like to see CAHSR come to fruition, this guy's statement that the distance from SFO to LA is the same as Paris to Lyon - "430 miles" apart just doesn't sound right. In fact, according to Google Maps, by road, it's 466 *kilometers*. That's about 280 miles.

Having said that, 432 miles (SFO to LA) / 3 hours = 144 mph (not counting time for stops, acceleration, etc), which doesn't sound too out of line.


You misread, he said Paris to Avignon, which according to Google Maps is 430 miles. CA HSR probably does have a good chance of ending up a milquetoast effort, just like any public infrastructure project in this country, due to being hamstrung from the beginning by the NIMBY and anti-public anything conservative agenda.

Wizened Variations Aug 6, 2011 2:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by drifting sun (Post 5369406)
You misread, he said Paris to Avignon, which according to Google Maps is 430 miles. CA HSR probably does have a good chance of ending up a milquetoast effort, just like any public infrastructure project in this country, due to being hamstrung from the beginning by the NIMBY and anti-public anything conservative agenda.

Over the last 10 to 20 years the US, IMO, has lost it's sense of being able to get much done besides talking about things, getting involved in wars, and creating movie special effects.

I am afraid that the change in transportation mode will only happen when many millions more walk the streets without work, and, car driving in the US will be exorbitantly expensive for the bottom 75% of the population.

When this happens, and I strongly believe that it will, those who have manufactured so many road blocks for steel rail passenger travel will:

A) Say "There is a Need for public transportation...and I am glad I thought of it."

and

B) Say "Let bygones be bygones...after all, we ALL did not want fast rail service and our not having HSR now is our collective fault."

Of course, there might be a half a million slow traveling buses on pothole and buckled pavement surface highways instead, in 2030-40.

202_Cyclist Aug 7, 2011 1:38 PM

Rail plan, landowners to collide (Sacramento Bee)
 
Where was the concern from farmers when I-5 or Highway 99 used thousands of acres of agriculture land? Similarly, auto-dependent sprawl from the Bay Area has also taken away thousands or tens of thousands of acres of farm land but there hasn't been this concern from farmers.


Rail plan, landowners to collide


By Tim Sheehan
Aug. 7, 2011
Sacramento Bee

"About 1,100 pieces of property – farms, businesses and homes – lie along the potential routes for California's high-speed trains between Madera and Shafter, where construction is planned to begin in late 2012.

Within the next week or so, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will begin looking for companies to negotiate with property owners and seal the deals on rights of way for the first 120 miles or so of tracks in the San Joaquin Valley. It's a contract that could be worth up to $40 million."

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/08/07/382...ate%20Politics

ElDuderino Aug 18, 2011 4:04 PM

Quote:

Caltrain could share tracks with high-speed rail

Michael Cabanatuan, Chronicle Staff Writer
Thursday, August 18, 2011

A beefed-up Caltrain service and a slimmed-down high-speed rail system could run between San Francisco and San Jose by sharing the existing rails, plus just a few miles of new passing tracks, Caltrain officials said Wednesday.

The preliminary findings of Caltrain's long-awaited capacity study, released to a group of San Mateo County city officials, lend support to what is being called a blended system, proposed by a group of Peninsula lawmakers. Containing the high-speed trains largely within the Caltrain right of way and avoiding extensive new construction, the plan has the potential to blunt much of the opposition to high-speed rail on the Peninsula, reduce costs, and modernize the Caltrain system.

"There's a lot of potential benefits here," said Seamus Murphy, government affairs manager for Caltrain. "This gives us a good path forward to work with the (California High-Speed Rail) authority and move forward with this approach."

Roelof van Ark, chief executive officer of the rail authority, said that while the results are preliminary, they show that it could be possible to build a lower-cost, lower-impact route up the Peninsula as the first phase of the ultimate system. He said he will meet soon with officials from Caltrain and the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, which is trying to get high-speed rail back on track in the Bay Area. Last month, the authority halted its studies of the San Francisco-San Jose segment, citing uncertainty of what the region wanted.

"This is a good step toward getting high-speed rail going in the Peninsula," he said.

The biggest potential obstacle to sharing the Caltrain tracks has been uncertainty about whether the system has the capacity to support the commuter railroad, which hopes to run more frequent service, and the high-speed rail system, which had plans to run as many as 12 trains an hour.

Preliminary results of the Caltrain analysis, conducted by LTK Engineering, show that the system, with the addition of a four-track segment roughly 8 miles long to allow high-speed trains to pass slower commuter trains making more frequent stops, could handle up to 10 trains per hour. That would allow Caltrain to run six commuter trains per hour during peak times, and accommodate as many as four high-speed rail trains.

The computer model used in the capacity analysis assumed that Caltrain - which would be electrified and use lighter, faster rail cars and an advanced signal system - would run at 79 mph while high-speed trains could travel at speeds up to 110 mph. That would allow every Caltrain, making 13 or 14 stops, to travel between San Francisco and San Jose in an hour or less - times now achieved only by the limited-stop Baby Bullet express trains. High-speed trains would make the trip in 30 to 35 minutes, with one stop in San Bruno.

Marian Lee, acting director of the Caltrain modernization program, said consultants will conduct a second run of the model before completing the analysis. The railroad presented its early findings to the San Mateo County Rail Corridor Partnership because of the intense interest, and equally intense criticism of high-speed rail planning on the Peninsula. Lee acknowledged that major elements of the plan are sure to be controversial, including the design and location of the passing track sections, and how to deal with the 50 grade crossings along the Caltrain right of way.

Van Ark said the shared-track plan would still be expensive and require substantial construction. It is still unclear whether it will meet the requirements of Proposition 1A, the state high-speed rail bond, and state environmental laws, he said.
Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...#ixzz1VOgGFXpO

ltsmotorsport Aug 19, 2011 6:45 AM

Hey, whatever gets it built. I could see though after everything is up and running that maybe HSR would need to expand capacity soon because of overcrowded trains. SF is one of the main attractions for HSR after all.

dimondpark Aug 19, 2011 9:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 5366664)
It would be interesting to have a new statewide vote on HSR, with the new cost estimates and estimated prices for travel and proposals to build-out the Central Valley first. A big victory could pretty well silence the critics.

I dont think it would win if we had to vote again.

I myself feel misled by the CASHR group with regards to cost estimates, ticket price estimates, ridership estimates and so on.

I only held on because of my desire for the CAHSR to be a major part of the new Transbay Termina project, which is a worthy endeavor, but now Im not so sure about CAHSR.

202_Cyclist Aug 19, 2011 11:35 AM

dimondpark:
Quote:

I only held on because of my desire for the CAHSR to be a major part of the new Transbay Termina project, which is a worthy endeavor, but now Im not so sure about CAHSR.
In all fairness, this is perhaps the least important reason to support high speed rail in CA. Here are some other reasons:

1) The US consumes 19M barrels of oil per day, approximately 1/4 of the world's total consumption. Passenger vehicles are responsible for about 60% of this consumption. Every year, America spends over $300B on foreign oil, much of it coming from petro-dictators hostile to the US and unstable regions. Electrified high speed rail will reduce our consumption of oil.
2) Electrified high speed rail, with a significant amount of the energy coming from renewable sources will improve air quality. I think the Central Valley currently has the nation's worst air quality. In contrast to high speed rail, people living within 100 meters of freeways in CA are twice as likely to get hardening of the arteries than other people: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb...on14-2010feb14.
3) The alternative to high speed rail isn't not spending anything. A few years ago, the CA Dept. of Finance estimated that CA's population will increase to 60M by 2050. We're going to have to invest in more infrastructure to accommodate all of these people. The cost of widening I-5 in SD County, alone, is estimated to cost between $3.3B - $4.5B. LAX's ongoing modernization costs approximately $5B. Sacramento's recent airport improvements cost $1.2. Upgrading Hwy 99 in the Central Valley to interstate standards is estimated to cost $25B.
4) High speed rail will give people an alternative to highway congestion. Every year, the Texas Transportation Institute finds that LA/OC highways are the nation's most congested, with motorists losing about 70 additional hours each year stuck in congestion. I think Riverside/San Bernardino is second and the Bay Area is either third or fourth. This extra time spent in congestion each year has an opportunity cost of tens of billions of dollars every single year that people can't be doing other, more valuable activities, not to mention the extra fuel consumption and air pollution.
5) High speed rail is one of the safest modes of transportation and certainly the safest mode of surface transportation. Since Japan's Shinkansen opened in 1965, there has not been one fatality on Japan's high speed rail network. There are 35,000 auto fatalities every single year. In addition to the tragic human cost, the economic cost of this is estimated to be $160B every single year.
6) CA's airports are congested. SFO is continually one of the top 2-3 most congested airports: http://www.bts.gov/programs/airline_.../table_04.html . One recent report found that aviation delays cost the US economy and passengers nearly $40B each year. High speed rail will help reduce delays at CA's crowded airports. SH&E, a very well-respected consulting firm, estimates that up to 12% of San Jose's passengers can be diverted to high speed rail, and I think 6% at SFO.
7) High speed rail will encourage billions, perhaps tens of billions, of dollars of dense infill development around the stations.
8) High speed rail will create much-needed good-paying construction and engineering jobs when unemployment is 11.5% in CA.
9) High speed rail will help connect the Central Valley, where unemployment is highest and housing is most affordable, with the rest of the state: http://www.sjvpartnership.org/upload...esentation.pdf There are already extensive plans (google Elizabeth Deakin) for redeveloping Fresno's downtown into dense, walkable development in the expectation of high speed rail.

dimondpark Aug 19, 2011 6:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 5383819)
dimondpark:
In all fairness, this is perhaps the least important reason to support high speed rail in CA.

I know, but that was the main thing keeping me on board. Now Im pretty sure Id vote against it.

Quote:

1) The US consumes 19M barrels of oil per day, approximately 1/4 of the world's total consumption. Passenger vehicles are responsible for about 60% of this consumption. Every year, America spends over $300B on foreign oil, much of it coming from petro-dictators hostile to the US and unstable regions. Electrified high speed rail will reduce our consumption of oil.
I dont agree that a HSR will reduce oil consumption that much in California to be honest.

Quote:

2) Electrified high speed rail, with a significant amount of the energy coming from renewable sources will improve air quality. I think the Central Valley currently has the nation's worst air quality.
Building a HSR in the Central Valley will only invite more sprawl. Merced and Modesto which already have a number of people commuting this way, will undoudtedly become bedroom communities of the Bay Area.

Quote:

In contrast to high speed rail, people living within 100 meters of freeways in CA are twice as likely to get hardening of the arteries than other people: http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb...on14-2010feb14.
Which is why I support developing alternative fuels that are cleaner.

Quote:

3) The alternative to high speed rail isn't not spending anything. A few years ago, the CA Dept. of Finance estimated that CA's population will increase to 60M by 2050. We're going to have to invest in more infrastructure to accommodate all of these people. The cost of widening I-5 in SD County, alone, is estimated to cost between $3.3B - $4.5B. LAX's ongoing modernization costs approximately $5B. Sacramento's recent airport improvements cost $1.2. Upgrading Hwy 99 in the Central Valley to interstate standards is estimated to cost $25B.
With $43 Billion(what the HSR is now estimated to cost), we could modernize all our bridges and freeways, all our airports, all our seaports and expand existing public transit options.

Quote:

4) High speed rail will give people an alternative to highway congestion. Every year, the Texas Transportation Institute finds that LA/OC highways are the nation's most congested, with motorists losing about 70 additional hours each year stuck in congestion.I think Riverside/San Bernardino is second and the Bay Area is either third or fourth. This extra time spent in congestion each year has an opportunity cost of tens of billions of dollars every single year that people can't be doing other, more valuable activities, not to mention the extra fuel consumption and air pollution.
I have seen no evidence proving that a CAHSR will alleviate intra-state highway congestion between San Francisco and Los Angeles because its not that bad as it is.

If anything, your comment really emphasizes the importance of individual regions needing money to improve traffic congestion more than a statewide high speed rail.

We have 2 distinct megalopolises that are hundreds of miles apart, which exist independent of each other aside from the flow of commerce on I-5 and through the ports and airports.
http://i107.photobucket.com/albums/m...iadensity2.png

I would rather we gave $21.5 Billion to each region that they can use to improve their respective transportation needs than to spend $43 Billion on a bullet train that will be yet another heavily subsidized, underutilized agency.

btw, Im a fan of HSRs, but not here at this time. I think the Northeast and Florida are the best places for that because you have major population centers in much closer proximity.

Perhaps an Intra-SoCal HSR is best? For NorCal Id rather see BART expanded to San Jose on both sides of the Bay---that would be 100 times better for helping traffic congestion than an HSR. Expanding BART into the North Bay is something else on my list of dream transit projects and $20 BILLION could cetainly go a long way to accomplish that.

Lastly with respect to money, Bill Lockyer, California State Treasurer recently stated that the state still has the option of cancelling the voter approved $9B(which has not been issued yet) if the state govt decides to end the project.


Quote:

5) High speed rail is one of the safest modes of transportation
So is flying and California is one of the busiest air travel corridors on the face of the earth.

Quote:

6) CA's airports are congested. SFO is continually one of the top 2-3 most congested airports: http://www.bts.gov/programs/airline_.../table_04.html . One recent report found that aviation delays cost the US economy and passengers nearly $40B each year. High speed rail will help reduce delays at CA's crowded airports. SH&E, a very well-respected consulting firm, estimates that up to 12% of San Jose's passengers can be diverted to high speed rail, and I think 6% at SFO.
Most California Airports are still below their historic high passenger volumes.

Your point simply proves to me that this is yet another capital improvement that should take precedence to a HSR.

Quote:

7) High speed rail will encourage billions, perhaps tens of billions, of dollars of dense infill development around the stations.
Like I said, it will also create sprawl in the valley and we need that like we need a tumor. Sure one or both parents will travel to work in the Bay Area but they will live in a suburban house with several cars and be totally auto dependent aside from their trip to work: See BART in most of the East Bay. Only with HSR we move that sprawl 100+ miles from the City.:yuck:

Quote:

8) High speed rail will create much-needed good-paying construction and engineering jobs when unemployment is 11.5% in CA.
$43 Billion could create high paying jobs in many several projects that are far more meaningful imo.

Quote:

9) High speed rail will help connect the Central Valley, where unemployment is highest and housing is most affordable, with the rest of the state: http://www.sjvpartnership.org/upload...esentation.pdf There are already extensive plans (google Elizabeth Deakin) for redeveloping Fresno's downtown into dense, walkable development in the expectation of high speed rail.
Hundreds of Thousands if not Millions of Acres of Farmland are on the chopping block as far as Im concerned.

California grows 50% of the nation's produce.
Olives 100% of US Total
Almonds 99% of US Total
Artichokes 99% of US Total
Figs 99% of US Total
Walnuts 99% of US Total
Kiwi 97% of US Total
Celery 95% of US Total
Tomatoes(Processing) 95% of US Total
Nectarines 95% of US Total
Plums 95% of US Total
Broccoli 93% of US Total
Strawberries(Processing) 93% of US Total
Apricots 92% of US Total
Avocados 90% of US Total
Leaf Lettuce 90% of US Total
Grapes 89% of US Total
Cauliflower 86% of US Total
Fresh Market Strawberries 86% of US Total
Garlic 86% of US Total
Lemons 86% of US Total
Peaches 86% of US Total
Fresh Market Spinach 83% of US Total
Romaine Lettuce 83% of US Total
Dates 82% of US Total
Head Lettuce 76% of US Total
Honeydew Melons 72% of US Total
Carrots 66% of US Total
Spinach(Processing) 63% of US Total
Raspberries 61% of US Total
Canteloupe 55% of US Total
Asparagus 52% of US Total
Bell Peppers 48% of US Total
Chili Peppers 43% of US Total
Onions 38% of US Total
Tangerines 37% of US Total
Navel Oranges 34% of US Total
Fresh Market Tomatos 33% of US Total
Pears 28% of US Total
Cherries 27% of US Total
All Oranges 26% of US Total
Cabbage 22% of US Total
Agaricus Mushrooms 20% of US Total
Squash 19% of US Total
Corn 16% of US Total
Watermelons 16% of US Total
Valencia Oranges 15% of US Total
Beans 11% of US Total
Pumpkins 11% of US Total
Cucumbers 10% of US Total
Grapefruits 10% of US Total
Apples 4% of US Total
Blueberries 6% of US Total
Boysenberries 3% of US Total
Pecans 1% of US Total

Preserving our Agriculture is more important to me than turning Merced into a TOD.

With all due respect.

Gordo Aug 19, 2011 7:22 PM

^Seems like the policy that would ease your concerns more than any would simply be to massively upzone currently urbanized areas.

If we were simply looking at a pile of cash and the best way to invest that cash in transportation infrastructure, I'd use it all for intra-region upgrades IF AND ONLY IF massive upzones came with those upgrades. BART around the Bay? Great - if that comes with 20-30 story (at least) towers around the stations like the Washington Metro (or at least the zoning allowing those towers). Under no circumstance should we be building BART around the Bay to serve park-and-ride lots and suburban low rises in Menlo Park. I kind of consider the money set aside for HSR to be for a different purpose though - and I strongly disagree with the notion that $43 billion would be enough to modernize all of the currently existing freeways, bridges, airports, etc. Have you seen the cost of the new Bay Bridge?

If we're looking to preserve agriculture, we should, well, preserve agriculture. That can be done by fiat, or potentially by some other ways like land or development swaps - ie farmer exchanges rights to ever develop his land as anything other than farms in exchange for ten stories of height increase for five acres of urban land. He can then either buy urban land himself and build something using those rights - or he can sell those rights to someone who already owns the land. This type of thing would obviously require some kind of state-level law and/or counties working together and preferably would be set up through some type of clearinghouse with standardized terms. Another way would simply be to establish urban growth boundaries and remove almost all zoning restrictions within those boundaries while simultaneously removing almost all development rights outside of those boundaries and paying off the farmers for that loss of rights.

I vehemently disagree that the best way to retain farmland is simply to keep the Central Valley disconnected from the coasts and/or economically depressed.

And as I've mentioned several times in this thread, I would much prefer that the whole thing be mostly privately financed - but with the state using its power to establish the route. Eminent domain the route, remove legal hurdles and vetoes, and let the dollars flow in (as we've seen with toll highways in Southern CA). No investor in their right mind is going to invest with the state pussyfooting around folks trying to derail the route. Investors need certainty - none of the canals and railroads of the past would have been built by private investors if they knew that the state/feds didn't have their back in legal disputes.

dimondpark Aug 19, 2011 8:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5384266)
^Seems like the policy that would ease your concerns more than any would simply be to massively upzone currently urbanized areas.

Probably.

Quote:

If we were simply looking at a pile of cash and the best way to invest that cash in transportation infrastructure, I'd use it all for intra-region upgrades IF AND ONLY IF massive upzones came with those upgrades. BART around the Bay? Great - if that comes with 20-30 story (at least) towers around the stations like the Washington Metro (or at least the zoning allowing those towers).
Yes, DC-like transit areas would be ideal, and Im not going to be hurt if we dont totally ring the entire bay, but definitey to San Jose from both sides imo would be excellent.

Quote:

Under no circumstance should we be building BART around the Bay to serve park-and-ride lots and suburban low rises in Menlo Park.
Agreed, but I still think that would be a more worthwhile investment than a bullet train to LA.

Quote:

I kind of consider the money set aside for HSR to be for a different purpose though - and I strongly disagree with the notion that $43 billion would be enough to modernize all of the currently existing freeways, bridges, airports, etc. Have you seen the cost of the new Bay Bridge?
Yeah, I suppose your right as far as the total cost of modernizing and expanding everything for $43 Billion.

But $43 Billion on a bullet train imHO seems highly unwise at a time when that massive sum of money I feel could be better spent elsewhere.

Quote:

If we're looking to preserve agriculture, we should, well, preserve agriculture. That can be done by fiat, or potentially by some other ways like land or development swaps - ie farmer exchanges rights to ever develop his land as anything other than farms in exchange for ten stories of height increase for five acres of urban land. He can then either buy urban land himself and build something using those rights - or he can sell those rights to someone who already owns the land. This type of thing would obviously require some kind of state-level law and/or counties working together and preferably would be set up through some type of clearinghouse with standardized terms. Another way would simply be to establish urban growth boundaries and remove almost all zoning restrictions within those boundaries while simultaneously removing almost all development rights outside of those boundaries and paying off the farmers for that loss of rights.

I vehemently disagree that the best way to retain farmland is simply to keep the Central Valley disconnected from the coasts and/or economically depressed.
Yeah, no one wants the Central Valley to remain economically depressed, but linking commuters to the coast via bullet trains certainly does open up those far out places to homebuyers fleeing the coast in favor of cheaper homes inland, and that creates all sorts of new problems imo.

Quote:

And as I've mentioned several times in this thread, I would much prefer that the whole thing be mostly privately financed - but with the state using its power to establish the route. Eminent domain the route, remove legal hurdles and vetoes, and let the dollars flow in (as we've seen with toll highways in Southern CA). No investor in their right mind is going to invest with the state pussyfooting around folks trying to derail the route. Investors need certainty - none of the canals and railroads of the past would have been built by private investors if they knew that the state/feds didn't have their back in legal disputes.
Nothing to argue with here.

Gordo Aug 19, 2011 9:18 PM

My argument for CAHSR now rather than simply expanding roads/airports/etc is that capital costs for big projects are projected to continue going up in real terms, so if we think that we'll eventually want a HSR line in California, it's cheaper (in real terms) to build it as soon as possible. Things like establishing ROW, digging tunnels, etc only really have to be done completely once. Refurbishing a road isn't nearly as capital intensive as digging a tunnel through mountains.

So...unless we think that we're going to begin removing environmental regulations (rather than slowly adding more) or find a way to make concrete cheaper (again, in real terms), we should do every big project as soon as possible. I would advocate the same for some large water projects needed, some new or replacement bridges, more fixed line transit, etc. Now is especially a good time, because while these projects are not particularly labor intensive, they do still require a decent amount of labor - and labor is cheap now compared to a few years ago, or compared to some later time when unemployment is back down at reasonable levels. (and that's an argument for doing more of the road refurbishment now as well)

zilfondel Aug 21, 2011 2:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gordo (Post 5384266)
If we're looking to preserve agriculture, we should, well, preserve agriculture. That can be done by fiat, or potentially by some other ways like land or development swaps - ie farmer exchanges rights to ever develop his land as anything other than farms in exchange for ten stories of height increase for five acres of urban land..

If you guys need to preserve agricultural land, look to your neighbor to the North. Cali could learn something from us. ;)

DJM19 Aug 21, 2011 5:01 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.


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