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Busy Bee Aug 5, 2010 10:19 PM

Some people are blissfully ignorant no matter how much an issue is publicized. You could tape it to their medicine cabinet and some would still say they haven't gotten around to informing themselves about the project. I just lament the American spirit of common purpose and sacrifice that would help along an ambitious and socially beneficial transportation project like CaliHSR, instead of the 'me first,' 'not at my expense' selfish attitude that seems to dominate nowadays.

pesto Aug 6, 2010 5:02 PM

A couple of comments, mostly re politics:

I don't blame just Obama; the debt problem and the idea of government management of the economy is an old one (and, thankfully, one with less and less credibility). Obama (or more correctly, his advisors) is to blame for the failed stimulus package but not for the prior history, which included GOP as well as Democratic support.

Tax cuts generally will stimulate investment and spending to a moderate degree. Aside from targeted tax benefits, such as investment or R&D credits, there is no other good way of encouraging investment without repercussions or inefficiency. Increased investment leads to greater long-term growth.

Just to make it less political, a look at the UK (Thatcher) and Sweden (around the Olaf Palme era) indicates the general effect of lower taxes and moderated government spending on long-term growth. Kennedy era tax changes (yes, by a Democrat) might also prove instructive.

I'm afraid the SGV residents are just catching up with the Peninsula and SJ area residents who have concerns about destruction of communities and eminent domain as well. An intelligent solution is to mitigate in areas where there is local opposition, either by changing routes or appropriate soundproofing or tunneling. A not so intelligent approach is to call them dummies and anti-social troublemakers.

mfastx Aug 6, 2010 9:01 PM

Wow, those NIMBY's are getting their kids involved even. I bet they don't know a damn thing about the project.

JDRCRASH Aug 8, 2010 4:23 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 4937835)
A couple of comments, mostly re politics:

I don't blame just Obama; the debt problem and the idea of government management of the economy is an old one (and, thankfully, one with less and less credibility). Obama (or more correctly, his advisors) is to blame for the failed stimulus package but not for the prior history, which included GOP as well as Democratic support.

A failed stimulus package? Up until a couple months ago, the monthly climb in job losses in the private sector collapsed ever since the stimulus was passed, and for a short amount of time, we actually GAINED jobs.

Quote:

I'm afraid the SGV residents are just catching up with the Peninsula and SJ area residents who have concerns about destruction of communities and eminent domain as well. An intelligent solution is to mitigate in areas where there is local opposition, either by changing routes or appropriate soundproofing or tunneling. A not so intelligent approach is to call them dummies and anti-social troublemakers.
I doubt it's gonna come out here. The 10 freeway is already a pain in the ass due to the HOV lanes U/C, and the San Bernardino Metrolink ROW through Baldwin Park and West Covina has barely enough room to accomodate double-tracking the Metrolink, let alone additional tracks for HSR.

Forget track-sharing...

The most likely scenario is that it's gonna use the Riverside Metrolink ROW that goes through City of Industry.

202_Cyclist Aug 13, 2010 3:47 PM

Riverside officials press for March area bullet train stop (Press-Enterprise)
 
Riverside officials press for March area bullet train stop

By DUG BEGLEY
The Press-Enterprise
8/12/2010

Analysis of which route is best for bullet trains to get from Los Angeles to San Diego is still about six months from completion, but Riverside business and city officials are continuing an aggressive push to have a station near March Air Reserve Base.

High-speed trains are proposed to run from downtown Los Angeles to San Diego, via a sweeping loop to lure Inland residents. The line is part of a larger system that planners hope will link San Diego to Sacramento by 2030.

http://www.pe.com/imagesdaily/2010/0...hspeed_400.jpg
Photo courtesy of Press-Enterprise

The contention is how far east that loop goes from LA to San Diego. Corona officials and others have suggested the line travel west from LA to Ontario International Airport, and then slash down Interstate 15. San Bernardino and Riverside officials are pressing for a route that goes from the airport east to San Bernardino and then down Interstate 215....

http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/...3.2c68059.html

M II A II R II K Aug 13, 2010 9:35 PM

High-speed rail factions on display at meeting


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BUV51EP5HU.DTL

Quote:

It was SRO at the California High-Speed Rail Authority's meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, in the wake of the furious public exchanges between Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman and Peninsula officials this week.

The divisions between those calling for full speed ahead on the $43 billion California high-speed rail project (Wunderman, et al) and dissenters were on full display, if wrapped in politer "spirit of collaboration" rhetoric.

Mayors and city council members from Burlingame, Belmont, Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park joined together in the Peninsula Cities Consortium, and issued a clarion call this month that the San Francisco-San Jose leg of the project should be "built right or not at all," prompting accusations of "obstructionist policies" from Wunderman.

The consortium's demand comes down, essentially, to chucking out the planned route through their cities, mostly along existing Caltrain lines, to be replaced with an alternative that, in the words of Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, "will not destroy our communities," but will "reflect the quality of life that we enjoy."

peanut gallery Aug 13, 2010 10:11 PM

"Destroy our communities" -- talk about hyperbole. Running in an existing ROW, eliminating the noise and inconvenience of grade crossings and running a few extra yet far quieter trains is now considered destroying the community. Got it.

M II A II R II K Aug 18, 2010 7:25 PM

Who will pay for California's high-speed rail system?


http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stori...=1&forced=true

Quote:

- The California High-Speed Rail Authority, created to carry out the project, told voters in 2008 that the rail line would cost $33.6 billion. The price has since jumped 27 percent, to $42.6 billion.

- The Rail Authority's estimate has risen mostly because when the measure went on the ballot, it didn't account for inflation, which is expected to total 19 percent over five years of construction.

- A Bay Area News Group analysis of high-speed systems around the globe suggests that the project could cost less than the current estimate, as little as $38 billion. But it is most likely to cost more -- up to $73 billion, even if built on time.

- "The state of California does not do anything cheaper than the rest of the world," said Adrian Moore, vice president of the libertarian Reason Foundation. "There is no way it will be close to $45 billion." Costs along some parts of the rail line zoomed up earlier this year, including one five-mile stretch on the Peninsula where estimates soared $135 million. The reason? Engineers had estimated the cost of building two tracks there when they actually needed four.



http://extras.mnginteractive.com/liv...nprice_200.jpg

Nexis4Jersey Aug 18, 2010 7:47 PM

Why can't they find private $$$?

NYonward Aug 18, 2010 10:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nexis4Jersey (Post 4951815)
Why can't they find private $$$?

No private company ever pays for huge capital projects like this.

pesto Aug 18, 2010 11:50 PM

A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.

btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.

friedpez Aug 19, 2010 3:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 4952092)
A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.

btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.

I agree, even though I live in the IE. Last Friday I drove from OC to San Diego, leaving at 12:30 in the afternoon. It took me 2.5 hours to reach my destination because of the stop-and-go traffic on the 5. The 15 is hardly ever that crowded, and I've traveled that road to SD dozens of times at all times of day during various days of the week.

A big chunk of those using CA HSR will be tourists, and they will want a quick link between LA and SD via OC, not via the mostly job-oriented IE. I think an IE branch is necessary, but I also agree it should stop around San Bernardino or Riverside and make stops near Industry, Pomona, and Ontario.

Currently, Amtrak operates between Irvine and SD's Santa Fe Depot for over $40 round trip. That's a total joke. There's no way a trip to SD for an OC resident could cost $40 in gas, parking, and car maintenance. I drive a Prius, and I'm a huge fan of taking public transit, but it has to be practical. I could see myself paying $40 RT for an OC-SD trip, but only if it were for HSR and if it included the parking.

Onn Aug 19, 2010 7:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 4952092)
A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.

btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.

Yeah, I don't see how this thing is going to make money going off the history of high-speed rail. On the other hand, I think it almost has to be built in California for the sake of the economy. The cars have got to stop.

mwadswor Aug 20, 2010 8:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 4952092)
A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.

That's not really correct. There is plenty of precedent and evidence that HSR will make money. However, the ROI is going to be extremely long term, and HSR is going to require an extremely large amount of money to be viable, neither of which appeal to private investors. Private investors think too short term, and they are not going to risk $40 billion+.

The government has to be involved for a variety of reasons including thinking long term, the ability to factor in the many, many reasons to build HSR that aren't directly related to its immediate profitability, the ability to raise the massive sums of money required, and the ability to use government powers such as eminent domain.

I agree that there should be more private investors involved, but I believe that the primary reason they are not materializing yet has less to do with the profitability of the project and more to do with the still speculative nature of the project. You're not going to start seeing serious private money committed to this until after the EIRs are finalized, the route is finalized, and we are seriously into the specific design phase. Until then, it is too easy for the plug to get pulled before anything even happens, and it is too long before trains start running and investors see any kind of ROI.

Quote:

btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.
I tend to agree, the issue though is that it is environmentally and politically extremely difficult, if not outright impossible to build full scale HSR through OC and north SD county. Ignoring the fact that prop 1A was passed promising a route through the IE and onto SD (which is not a trivial issue, as that general design legally cannot be changed without another voter mandate), the ROW simply isn't there along much of the coastal route, and would be nearly if not completely impossible to acquire.

Have you ever ridden Amtrak or the Metrolink/Coaster along that route? There are long sections where it is single tracked, the trains run slow for environmental sensitivity reasons, and (particularly between about Oceanside and about San Juan Capistrano) there are long stretches where the ROW is limited to single track by geography (the ocean on the west and the bluffs to the east). There are significant stretches where the tracks run right along the beach and look unsustainable in a serious storm as they're built now. Add in that long portions of that ROW run through Camp Pendleton and environmentally sensitive areas and it's almost all controlled by the coast commission, and you begin to see how impossible it would be to even double track that ROW the whole way, much less add the 3rd and 4th tracks that would be necessary and get approval for high speeds.

I agree that the general route through OC makes much more sense than the IE routes, but it's too infeasible when you try to figure out the actual details. The current ROW isn't upgradeable enough, a whole new ROW is completely out of the questions given the costs of ROW acquisition through that area, Camp Pendleton and other state and federal land, etc., and prop 1A requires a route that goes through the IE.

PragmaticIdealist Aug 20, 2010 11:29 PM

Why do governments invest in transportation infrastructure?

The answer is economic development. The profitability of high-speed rail does not exist in a vacuum. And, clearly, California realizes that Smart Growth in the Central Valley and in the Inland Empire is in the economic interests of the State.

High-speed rail, like airports, has a tremendous impact on the patterns of development.

Onn Aug 21, 2010 2:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PragmaticIdealist (Post 4954625)
High-speed rail, like airports, has a tremendous impact on the patterns of development.

Airports have an impact on development? They're usually built in the middle of nowhere.

PragmaticIdealist Aug 21, 2010 3:08 AM

One of the reasons the Inland Empire has been having so much trouble with job growth since the Great Recession hit is because L.A.W.A. has fees set inordinately high at L.A./Ontario International Airport, which, as a result, has been losing flights.

Employers need a certain number of convenient non-stop flights. High-speed rail will serve the same function and will also connect more cities to airports, themselves, thereby regionalizing air-travel demand.

High-speed rail will be absolutely essential to the U.S. and California's economic competitiveness in the future. And, de-suburbanizing the Inland Empire will be imperative for maintaining California's historic levels of job growth and productivity. The Central Valley needs Smart Growth for some of the same reasons, but, considering that the region is the most fertile farmland on the planet, the agricultural output there, likewise, needs to be preserved.

202_Cyclist Aug 21, 2010 3:11 PM

PragmaticIdealist:
Quote:

One of the reasons the Inland Empire has been having so much trouble with job growth since the Great Recession hit is because L.A.W.A. has fees set inordinately high at L.A./Ontario International Airport, which, as a result, has been losing flights.
With all due respect, air travel certainly is a key enabler of economic growth but the rate the landing fees are set at at LAX and Ontario has almost no effect on job growth or other macroeconomic conditions in Southern California. High unemployment and one of the most depressed housing markets in the US is a far more accurate explanation of why Ontario has been losing flights.

202_Cyclist Aug 21, 2010 3:14 PM

Rail authority stands by its ridership projections (SJ Mercury)
 
Rail authority stands by its ridership projections

By Bonnie Eslinger
San Jose Mercury
Posted: 08/21/2010

The California High-Speed Rail Authority released a revised environmental study Friday night that stands by its ridership projections, despite a contention from project opponents that the numbers are inflated.

The 2,454-page revised environmental impact report was unveiled at 6 p.m., one day after Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny tentatively ruled he won't reopen a 2008 lawsuit by Atherton, Menlo Park and other groups that sought to block bullet trains from zooming up and down the Peninsula.

After a short hearing Friday, Kenny said he would issue his final decision next week.

In October 2009, Kenny concluded that the rail authority's environmental impact report needed revisions, but he rejected the plaintiffs' request to halt the $42.6 billion project. The report released Friday is supposed to address some of the concerns raised by opponents....

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-...058?source=rss

JDRCRASH Aug 22, 2010 5:34 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 4952092)
btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.

The CHSR isn't going past Irvine.

202_Cyclist Aug 22, 2010 3:52 PM

This is from today's Sac Bee. CA's state parks are one of the many great things the state has to offer. They are really some amazing areas. I grew up mountain biking in Crystal Cove State Park. That said, the environmental benefits of high speed rail greatly exceed any potential encroachment on the parks. High speed rail will encourage smart growth and infill development, helping to preserve the state's remaining open space. This project will also improve air quality and limit climate change by providing an alternative to auto travel.



Growth puts pressure on California's state parks

Published: Sunday, Aug. 22, 2010 - 12:00 am
Page 1A
Sacramento Bee

"In the decades ahead, tensions between California parks and other priorities – transportation, green energy, private development – are likely to intensify. Over the next 40 years, the state's population is expected to grow from about 39 million to more than 59 million, according to the Department of Finance.

Parks spokesman Stearns said the department has identified high-speed rail as the No. 1 potential game-changer for parks up and down the state in coming years.

That quandary already is playing out at Los Angeles State Historic Park, where a high-speed rail project proposes to tunnel under the downtown park – possibly closing it for years. Supporters of Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park also are gearing up to fight plans to run the state's long-planned high-speed rail line near the park. Some blueprints for the ambitious rail project also would have the line cut through San Luis Reservoir State Recreation Area and Pacheco State Park, both in Merced County.

"For every project that gets defeated, there's another one coming up behind it," said Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation.

"Because fundamentally, California has very bad laws to protect its state parks."

http://www.sacbee.com/2010/08/22/297...=Top%20Stories

PragmaticIdealist Aug 23, 2010 11:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 4955122)
PragmaticIdealist:


With all due respect, air travel certainly is a key enabler of economic growth but the rate the landing fees are set at at LAX and Ontario has almost no effect on job growth or other macroeconomic conditions in Southern California. High unemployment and one of the most depressed housing markets in the US is a far more accurate explanation of why Ontario has been losing flights.

If an airline has to charge passengers double to fly from ONT, instead of LAX, and, if that premium results in a loss of ridership from ONT to LAX that, in turn, leads the airline to discontinue one or more flights from the former airport, then, for those many desirable employers who located near ONT to have access to one or more of those flights, there becomes a need to relocate, especially as the condition persists.

The fees at ONT are, by far, the highest of those being charged by airports in the SCAG and SanDAG regions. And, some officials with the L.A.W.A. finally admitted recently that they have only been paying lip service to the obligations the agency is under to regionalize air-travel demand at LAX.

Airlines are also desperate to have more assurances that reliable ground access to the airports in the Inland Empire will be available in the medium and long terms. Freeways between downtown Los Angeles and ONT, for instance, are expected to create travel times of more than two hours by 2035. So, high-speed rail to and from the Inland Empire is not an option; the mode and the routes are absolutely necessary for the economic competitiveness of the entire SCAG region. Additionally, San Diego County has no suitable locations for new airports or expansions while Lindbergh Field is currently operating well over capacity. So, high-speed rail is expected to better connect Inland Empire airports with the more southerly urban core, as well.

202_Cyclist Aug 26, 2010 2:31 PM

One poll released today has eMeg up by 8% over Jerry Brown. Admittedly, the people at Rasmussen are GO(B)P hacks but if you want to see high speed rail built in CA, it is essential to vote for Jerry Brown this November.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epo...olls/governor/

Yankee Aug 26, 2010 3:17 PM

I really wanna believe that the CA high speed rail system is gonna get built, but it just seems too good to be true.

fflint Aug 26, 2010 4:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 4960527)
One poll released today has eMeg up by 8% over Jerry Brown. Admittedly, the people at Rasmussen are GO(B)P hacks but if you want to see high speed rail built in CA, it is essential to vote for Jerry Brown this November.

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epo...olls/governor/

Obviously the election could go either way, but Rasmussen isn't a polling outfit. It's nothing more than a partisan propaganda machine known for cooking its "poll" numbers early in an election cycle to influence the election outcome in favor of its Republican clients. They invent a GOP "winner" and try to get undecided voters to commit to that "winner" long before election day--basic psy-ops stuff.

Rasmussen fabricates for any given GOP client a massive "lead" over any given Democrat early, and they maintain that fake number most of the cycle. Then, as election day approaches, Rasmussen stops cooking the numbers and that crazy outlier "lead" magically disappears by election eve. Why? Because Rasmussen knows polling firms are usually judged by their "final polls" on election eve, and so they need their "polls" to drop those phony leads they invented for their clients and become more aligned with the actual election results.

HSR may or may not get built regardless of the election, but don't let the partisan hacks at Rasmussen rattle you.

M II A II R II K Aug 27, 2010 11:01 PM

Next Contender for High-Speed Rail -- Los Angeles or Fresno?


http://www.fastcompany.com/1685354/n...eles-or-fresno

Quote:

A new report, Thinking Ahead: High-Speed Rail in California, from the Center for Urban infrastructure, details the benefits of building a mass inter-city high-speed rail system for Southern California, an area of the state that is sorely lacking in user-friendly mass transit. But the real shocker? The writers of the report suggest that most of the money should be used to link Bakersfield and Fresno, in Central California, an area that is mostly farmland and less densely populated than most of the state.

California is to receive a $2.34 billion investment to boost its economy and urban development plans and the idea is that where there are hubs for transportation, those same cities become economic hubs, which explains the focus on Central California. With the University of California's newest addition to the system, UC Merced, California has been trying to make something of its forgotten region for some time now, beyond farming. (High density development can't hurt the property tax rolls, right?)



http://images.fastcompany.com/upload/rail2.jpg.jpg

hammersklavier Aug 28, 2010 12:06 AM

The current plan goes through Fresno on its way from LA to SF. :crazy:

Am I missing something here?

JDRCRASH Aug 28, 2010 4:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammersklavier (Post 4962536)
The current plan goes through Fresno on its way from LA to SF. :crazy:

Am I missing something here?

They wanna build it in segments.

jamesinclair Aug 28, 2010 5:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by hammersklavier (Post 4962536)
The current plan goes through Fresno on its way from LA to SF. :crazy:

Am I missing something here?


The question is, which segment first?

I think LA-Anaheim first is dumb. I agree that Bakersfield-Fresno would be a much better start, as it's where the trains will go fastest and where the maintenance facility is.

Theres also a good amount of people currently taking the San Joaquin train every day.

M II A II R II K Sep 7, 2010 4:15 PM

Pacheco Pass high-speed rail route wins again


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BAI91F7CUS.DTL

Quote:

(09-03) 04:00 PDT Sacramento --

For the third time in as many years, the High-Speed Rail Authority on Thursday chose the Pacheco Pass to speed trains between the Bay Area and Central Valley.

Despite pleas from those who favor an alignment over the Altamont Pass, and Peninsula critics of plans to run high-speed trains on the Caltrain right-of-way, the authority voted 7-0, with two members absent, to reaffirm earlier decisions and approved required environmental studies.

But the decision may not be the last.

"If you approve this, you are going to be heading back to court again and, I would predict, to another adverse decision," said Stuart Flashman, an attorney representing Menlo Park and Atherton in a suit that forced the authority to revisit the environmental study and alignment choice.



http://imgs.sfgate.com/c/pictures/20...1283471083.jpg

pesto Sep 8, 2010 7:36 PM

hammersklavier: one of several political decisions that makes the California HSR a questionable case. The Central Valley will have milk run stops, so some trains will go to each city, some to just a few. Very few of the trains will be non-stops so the time to get from LA to the Bay will generally be longer than advertised so that air and cars will be far more efficient choices for most people.

You will also notice that you go through SB and Riverside to get from LA to SD. This will pretty much make that connection non-competitive with cars. The OC, which has a natural connection to SD, will have to go 200 miles (and change trains) to get 70 miles to SD.

And try to figure how to get from Sacto or Stockton to the Fairfield/Oakland/East Bay corridor, which is its natural connection as well.

In short, it needs work.

PragmaticIdealist Sep 10, 2010 2:39 AM

The population growth is the major factor. Travel times on freeways in many of the urbanized areas are expected to quadruple within the next 10-20 years, and the congestion will be almost intolerable. So, high-speed rail should have no trouble competing with cars, short of them flying in the sky, running on sunshine, and driving themselves.

Interstate 5 through San Diego County is already maddening, and I try to take the train as often as I can to avoid that stretch.

hammersklavier Sep 10, 2010 1:39 PM

While I'm sure political motivation is a contributing factor, and I'm not sure of some of the details of Cali. geography, I do believe that within the L.A. basin, there are constraints based on the passes to be used, parks, etc.

The Altamont route, for example, clearly offers a superior offering for S.F.-Sacramento than the Pacheco plan--but at the same time it's still inferior to a potential route straight down the river to Oakland (with a potential connection to Frisco proper from there). By the same token, the circular routing between L.A. and San Diego does touch most of the good neighborhoods, and seems designed in part to function as branches to concentrate traffic to Frisco at Union Station rather than to provide an effective fast path to S.D.--perhaps two routings may one day be necessary (I remember the geology of the matter prompting Desert Xpress to choose to terminate in Victorville and one day connect to Palmdale to piggyback on CAHSR's Tehachapi (sp?) Pass route, rather than connect via the more direct, but more geologically unstable and congested, Cajon Pass.)

As far as the first section, getting from Sacramento to Palmdale looks like it ought to be the first priority--it's the easiest part to build. No matter how you look at it, getting into the L.A. Basin is going to entail significant engineering and technical challenges, as is getting over the Pacheco Pass. This route naturally includes Fresno and Bakersfield as part of the initial segment.

202_Cyclist Sep 10, 2010 2:33 PM

Put high-speed rail in San Joaquin Valley first (SF Chronicle)
 
Put high-speed rail in San Joaquin Valley first

Walter Strakosch
San Francisco Chronicle
September 9, 2010

"High-speed rail has been a fact in Japan since 1964 and throughout Europe (France first) since 1981. High-speed rail is a great way to travel and may become a fact in California. Before that happens, however, the planned system should be structured with the best operating and financial scenario possible in order to protect the taxpayer (you and me) and to attract the necessary outside investors.

The total cost of the planned California system will exceed $40 billion. In addition to $9 billion in bond money, plus local grants and federal funding, the California High-Speed Rail Authority hopes for outside investors to defray $10 billion to $12 billion of the costs. Before that happens, though, those investors will need to see a potential return. The hitch? The way the phasing or building of the system is currently proposed may not produce a return.

Phase one of the California high-speed rail system is planned for San Francisco to Anaheim, followed by Los Angeles to San Diego, and then Merced to Sacramento. Phase One is to be built in segments. They are, with the first two segments having priority:

(1) Los Angeles to Anaheim,

(2) San Francisco to San Jose, and

(3) Bakersfield to Merced. The cost to build the 30 miles from Los Angeles to Anaheim and the 50 miles from San Francisco to San Jose is estimated at $9.9 billion. I suggest a less risky approach: Build the Bakersfield to Merced segment first..."

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...EDEI1FAHET.DTL

pesto Sep 10, 2010 6:51 PM

hammersklavier: I agree with most of your comments but not on ordering.

Ca HSR believes 85 percent of its riders will come from cars. The problem is that it’s 350-450 miles by car and 430-600 miles by HSR from the Bay Area to LA/SD and the roads are excellent and uncrowded except on the busiest holidays. If an electric car is going to make that run for about .10/mile, we have roughly a $70 RT. Putting 2 adults and 2 kids on HSR will cost $400-600RT and you will need to rent a car when you get there (90 percent of the Bay Area does not live in SF and 95 percent of LA does not live in DT core).

The efficient uses of HSR are within the Bay Area and within LA/SD, where traffic is bad much of the time, will get much worse and freeways are about at their limits. My suggestion is to build-out Palmdale, Riverside, Irvine to DT LA, and (as you suggest) Sacto-Oakland-SJ with a BART connection into SF. The Peninsula already has excellent, heavily-used train service from SJ to SF and there is considerable opposition to HSR at the moment.

As PI notes, the OC to SD corridor is jammed much of the time. But HSR isn’t going to help this since it loops north to LA, east to Riverside, and back south to SD. This may serve the IE nicely, but makes the OC-SD connection useless. It goes on hold until a path through the OC is do-able. Everything in the Central Valley (except Sacto.) goes on hold until it’s clear the demand exists (HSR concedes that this is a very small piece of the projected ridership).

PragmaticIdealist Sep 10, 2010 7:01 PM

Essentially, the question for the O.C. to S.D. connection is whether or not Coaster and Metrolink, as well as Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner, to a lesser extent, need to be improved. For example, I would very much be in favor of integrating the two regional rail services so that transfers in Oceanside are unnecessary.

nickkoto Sep 11, 2010 8:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesinclair (Post 4962787)
The question is, which segment first?

I think LA-Anaheim first is dumb. I agree that Bakersfield-Fresno would be a much better start, as it's where the trains will go fastest and where the maintenance facility is.

Theres also a good amount of people currently taking the San Joaquin train every day.

They should divide the area between San Jose and Burbank up into a good 50 segments, cherry-pick whichever 10 are the cheapest and most politically expedient first, and move on from there as each one gets completed. The more miles of track they can quickly lay down, the easier it'll become to rationalize the rest of it.

M II A II R II K Sep 13, 2010 2:53 PM

California and China to Collaborate on Railroads...Again.


September 13th, 2010

Read More: http://www.fastcompany.com/1688549/c...railroadsagain

Quote:

China helped California build its railway decades ago and they may be at it again soon; Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has made it publicly known that the great state of California is accepting bids from China to build its high-speed rail connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. There is a precedent here--Schwarzenegger visited China's railways earlier this year and China has already publicly expressed interest, not only in California but also in linking entire continents.

All in all, it looks as though Schwarzenegger and China are playing a little dance, wooing each other, making public statements, holding meetings, and more. "We look to China to build our high speed rail, to be part of the bidding process that we are going to go through," said Schwarzenegger while in Shanghai. Schwarzenegger is also in talks with neighboring South Korea and Japan, but if China can keep its costs low, it seems likely Schwarzenegger would award the contract to China.



http://images.fastcompany.com/upload...peed-train.jpg

twoNeurons Sep 13, 2010 3:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 4976980)
hammersklavier: I agree with most of your comments but not on ordering.

Ca HSR believes 85 percent of its riders will come from cars. The problem is that it’s 350-450 miles by car and 430-600 miles by HSR from the Bay Area to LA/SD and the roads are excellent and uncrowded except on the busiest holidays. If an electric car is going to make that run for about .10/mile, we have roughly a $70 RT. Putting 2 adults and 2 kids on HSR will cost $400-600RT and you will need to rent a car when you get there (90 percent of the Bay Area does not live in SF and 95 percent of LA does not live in DT core).

The efficient uses of HSR are within the Bay Area and within LA/SD, where traffic is bad much of the time, will get much worse and freeways are about at their limits. My suggestion is to build-out Palmdale, Riverside, Irvine to DT LA, and (as you suggest) Sacto-Oakland-SJ with a BART connection into SF. The Peninsula already has excellent, heavily-used train service from SJ to SF and there is considerable opposition to HSR at the moment.

As PI notes, the OC to SD corridor is jammed much of the time. But HSR isn’t going to help this since it loops north to LA, east to Riverside, and back south to SD. This may serve the IE nicely, but makes the OC-SD connection useless. It goes on hold until a path through the OC is do-able. Everything in the Central Valley (except Sacto.) goes on hold until it’s clear the demand exists (HSR concedes that this is a very small piece of the projected ridership).

The 85% is likely political. It appeals to staunch car drivers (hey, less traffic), to environmentalists (hey, it's saving the planet), to price-conscious people (hey, they're targetting drivers... so it'll be cheap).

In reality, I doubt it will be that high for the whole trip. However, it will be used a lot more for shorter trips into the city from the exurbs as a way of avoiding the traffic for occasional trips in.

SF-LA traffic will be mostly previously airplane passengers. In fact, if it's done right, airline travel between those two cities will almost disappear.

Busy Bee Sep 13, 2010 4:03 PM

I'll believe it when I see it. If California legislature and citizen can find enough wrong with allowing SNCF or DB to participate in CHSR, surely human rights, nationalists and protectionists folks will come out of the woodwork to prevent Chinese companies, which really means China and all that is associated with that come in and build our modern railroad system. The Chinese railroad builders of the 19th Century were essentially grunts working for slave wages, not a modern, cunning and efficient communist government backed, quasi-public, quasi- private billion dollar corporation(s) landing on our shores helping US build a fast choo choo and going home flush with California and American taxpayer cash.

OhioGuy Sep 13, 2010 4:37 PM

Is high speed rail in California doomed, or at the very least set back decades, if Whitman is elected governor rather than Brown?

DJM19 Sep 13, 2010 7:19 PM

I don't think its scrapped if that happens. A majority of Californians voted in favor of it, even knowing the down time in the economy and state budget. It would have to be voter approved to scrap it.

It may be pushed back somehow though. We need a governor who is fully behind the project and if anything, tries to get it built sooner. The sooner its built, the cheaper it will be.

penfold Sep 13, 2010 7:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DJM19 (Post 4979764)
I don't think its scrapped if that happens. A majority of Californians voted in favor of it, even knowing the down time in the economy and state budget. It would have to be voter approved to scrap it.

It may be pushed back somehow though. We need a governor who is fully behind the project and if anything, tries to get it built sooner. The sooner its built, the cheaper it will be.

Her being a rich peninsula resident, and rich peninsula residents being the largest and most powerful nimby block angry about the proposed alignment, Whitman as gov could certainly slow the momentum, possibly to a standstill for a few years, though I'm not sure she could kill the whole thing without a new initiative (though if she could, she definitely would).

JDRCRASH Sep 13, 2010 10:46 PM

^ Don't underestimate the power of the NIMBY trolls.

pesto Sep 14, 2010 12:34 AM

A surer (and fiscally sounder) way of getting adequate transit built is to encourage businesses to start and stay in California; grow the employment and tax base; and fund only a system that is clearly needed. This would require more than just Whitman being elected because the current legislature is too beholden to the welfare crowd, teachers', public employees' and other unions to ever do anything but roll-over at their command. And I don't see any big changes in the legislature because they have a massive constituency that would vote for them under any circumstances.

PragmaticIdealist Sep 16, 2010 6:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pesto (Post 4980141)
A surer (and fiscally sounder) way of getting adequate transit built is to encourage businesses to start and stay in California; grow the employment and tax base; and fund only a system that is clearly needed. This would require more than just Whitman being elected because the current legislature is too beholden to the welfare crowd, teachers', public employees' and other unions to ever do anything but roll-over at their command. And I don't see any big changes in the legislature because they have a massive constituency that would vote for them under any circumstances.

California is suffering from serious brain drain that is the result of suburban sprawl caused by decades of asinine freeway construction.

The State needs to regain its livability in order to maintain its historic levels of economic growth and job growth. And, acheiving a high quality of life in an increasingly dense and complex place ultimately requires high-speed rail.

202_Cyclist Sep 16, 2010 11:52 AM

San Jose City Council gives nod to aerial high speed rail track -for now (SJ Mercury)
 
San Jose City Council gives nod to aerial high speed rail track -- for now

San Jose Mercury
By Tracy Seipel

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_16077886

"After a lengthy discussion, the San Jose City Council on Tuesday agreed with a staff recommendation to study an aerial track, not a tunnel, for future high-speed rail trains into downtown.

But the 8-2 vote, with Councilmen Kansen Chu and Pierluigi Oliverio opposed and Councilman Pete Constant absent, came with caveats.

First, the California High-Speed Rail Authority must agree by Oct. 1 that the city has the right to approve or reject any design for an aerial alignment through the Diridon Station area. If the authority does not agree, the council will send a letter asking the authority for a full study of a tunnel instead..."

202_Cyclist Sep 16, 2010 12:01 PM

China Touts `Complete Package' for California High-Speed Rail (Bloomberg)
 
The California High Speed Rail Blog also had a discussion earlier this week about Schwarzenegger's trip to Asia. Japan is interested in loaning CA money for this as well. The Atlantic had a good article earlier this summer about China's expanding ties to sub-Saharan Africa. China built many of the railroads in post-colonial Africa in the middle part of last century. I don't want to bash China but it is too bad we have this fixation on our deficit and taxes and we're not willing to provide dedicated funding for this infrastructure. Instead, we have to beg the Chinese and others.

China Touts `Complete Package' for California High-Speed Rail

By Bloomberg News
9/15/2010

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-0...ed-trains.html

"China can offer a “complete package,” including financing, as it competes to build a high-speed railway in California costing more than $40 billion, according to the nation’s railway ministry.

“What other nations don’t have, we have,” He Huawu, the ministry’s chief engineer, said in a Sept. 14 interview in Beijing. “What they have, we have better.” He declined to elaborate further on how much financing may be available.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger this week rode on bullet trains in China, Japan and South Korea as the state seeks contractors and financing to build the planned network linking Los Angeles and San Francisco. China is competing for the high-speed line and for one in Brazil as it works to boost high-technology exports and pare its reliance on low- wage production..."

JDRCRASH Sep 18, 2010 10:52 PM

I'd like to see jobs in America, but how many companies here can match what China's have?

Onn Sep 19, 2010 3:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 4985866)
I'd like to see jobs in America, but how many companies here can match what China's have?

Well no American company has experience building high-speed trains so that is virtually impossible. Doesn’t mean it won't change in the future, but not today. The only advantage of buying from China would be price, where you could get everything cheaper and help with financing from Chinese companies or banks. For California that could be huge because of the budget crisis. If China had to supply everything for California I would be alright with that, as a last resort of course.


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