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

urbanfan89 Nov 9, 2010 12:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5047842)
Japan high-speed rail 1980s = 200 billion dollar bailout. Do your homework before thinking you know everything, China's system is way beyond any country's capacity. China is not even the largest economy in the world.

1) China's population is way beyond any other country, bar India, which is only getting started with its high speed railway plans. The enormous population which is emerging from poverty surely won't be moving around by air or road, that's for sure.

2) China is even further ahead in an expressway plan which dwarfs the Interstate Highways of the United States. Funny, since no one is complaining about them requiring bailouts.

3) It doesn't really matter in itself if the high speed railways lose money. The main purpose of China's high speed railways is to free up space on the regular system for more freight trains, which are profitable. The increase in profit should pay for the loss in passenger trains.

4) There were plenty of naysayers when France, Germany, Spain, and Britain opened their high speed railway systems. Where are they now?

It's also interesting to note that China's creation myth also involved a great flood. But unlike the Bible, where humans are helpless in the face of God's wrath, China's flood involved a wise engineer commanding an army of workers to build innovative drainage systems to defeat the flood. So the obsession with massive projects is as central to Chinese culture as Noah's Ark is to the Abrahamic religions. Some were white elephants, while others were crowning achievements in history. But I don't think high speed rail is the former.

schwerve Nov 9, 2010 12:53 AM

I think that article misses the point, I'd argue today's California doesn't need 220 mph rail between SF-LA, but 2040's California sure will. The question is how much money will 40 billion in 2010 dollars save in 2040 dollars. For example, when oil price peaked in '08, airlines increased the cost of their flights by 30%. As 2 billion Chinese and Indians buy their first car, the demand for oil is going to skyrocket, and those 30% surcharges on flights are going to become the norm. A high speed rail line won't be effected directly by those energy cost and can function to as a cost-competitive mechanism to 1) get people from place to place relatively cheaply 2) compete directly with the airlines to reduce costs. I don't have the numbers to tell you what the cost-benefit but whenever somebody throws the term "boondoggle" around, chances are they haven't worked that out either.

Onn Nov 9, 2010 1:06 AM

So no, I don't see how it will be sucessful in China or that there's much hope for California.

The Chemist Nov 9, 2010 1:22 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5047948)
You can't run high-speed on freight train lines. :haha:

No, but you can take passenger trains OFF the old conventional lines thanks to the new capacity from HSR and replace those passenger trains on the conventional lines with freight.

Quote:

It's a massive white elephant, almost every picture I've seen from billion dollar high-speed rail stations have been completely empty. How on earth is that justified?
Most of those photos you've seen come from during the construction phase (many of these new stations have yet to open) so of course they have no people in them. Trust me, once the stations open, the people will come. Not only that, but if you look at the case of Shanghai's new Hongqiao station, for example, a lot of the lines it was built to serve are still under construction, and the same is true for many other large Chinese hub stations. Once the HSR network is complete in 4-5 years, the size of these stations will make sense.

Further, Chinese stations have to be designed with excess capacity given the demands of the Spring Festival travel peak (the largest yearly movement of people in the world).

mfastx Nov 9, 2010 1:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5047842)
Japan high-speed rail 1980s = 200 billion dollar bailout.

Just like how the United States has been subsidizing the Interstate Highway system since it's creation.

Onn Nov 9, 2010 1:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mfastx (Post 5048010)
Just like how the United States has been subsidizing the Interstate Highway system since it's creation.

Don't know what your talking about since I know nothing about that.

Onn Nov 9, 2010 1:49 AM

Quote:

Most of those photos you've seen come from during the construction phase (many of these new stations have yet to open) so of course they have no people in them. Trust me, once the stations open, the people will come. Not only that, but if you look at the case of Shanghai's new Hongqiao station, for example, a lot of the lines it was built to serve are still under construction, and the same is true for many other large Chinese hub stations. Once the HSR network is complete in 4-5 years, the size of these stations will make sense.
Ahh I don't think so, nice try getting around that one. Almost all the pics I've seen the stations and trains have been fully operational.

Quote:

Further, Chinese stations have to be designed with excess capacity given the demands of the Spring Festival travel peak (the largest yearly movement of people in the world).
Wow, nothing like wasting money just for a few weeks. Now THAT is a waste of money, it's not at all in line with the free market which means it’s a money pit. You’re bending the laws of economics in building extra capacity knowing fully well it will only be filled to capacity for a certain time of year. What happens the rest of the year? Well...ya gotta pay for that.

Sodha Nov 9, 2010 2:12 AM

Rail never makes money. That's a fact for every system in the world. Even ones with 12 million plus daily ridership, it's still losing money.

However...........................rail provides for significantly higher property tax revenues for counties and states as there is higher density allowed to be created due to the fixed transit guideway put in place. Cities with large rail systems have some of the highest tax revenue collections in order to subsidize the system. Highways need the gas tax for subsidies (and even that is running low on cash due to more fuel efficient cars hitting the market). Rail takes a portion of existing county sales tax in order to keep running.

schwerve Nov 9, 2010 2:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5048020)
Wow, nothing like wasting money just for a few weeks. Now THAT is a waste of money, it's not at all in line with the free market which means it’s a money pit. You’re bending the laws of economics in building extra capacity knowing fully well it will only be filled to capacity for a certain time of year. What happens the rest of the year? Well...ya gotta pay for that.

you can't really argue with conjecture.

The Chemist Nov 9, 2010 2:30 AM

China's construction of large railway stations is no different than the global phenomenon of cities building larger airports than they need at the present time - it's called future-proofing, and it often saves money in the long run.

I will again point out that many of these stations are not fully operational considering many of the lines they have been designed to serve are still under construction and will not be operational for anywhere between 1 and 5 years. Just as an example, the Hongqiao Integrated Traffic Hub here in Shanghai is designed to serve several HSR lines (including the major Shanghai-Beijing and Shanghai-Hong Kong lines) that will not be operational until 2011 at the absolute earliest. As a result, the passenger numbers at Hongqiao are not as high as they will be when all lines are open, so the station AT PRESENT seems like it's bigger than it needs to be - but when all the lines are open and operational, people will be very glad it was built to the size it its now.

fflint Nov 9, 2010 5:07 AM

This isn't a thread about China, folks. Try to stick to the subject.

glowrock Nov 9, 2010 5:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5048015)
Don't know what your talking about since I know nothing about that.

Seems like a personal problem. ;)

Seriously though, you know nothing about continuing and pervasive subsidizing of our highway system, Onn? Are you insane? Do you really, REALLY think the pittance of a gas tax (federal and state) we have in this country is enough to provide for maintenance and expansion of our roads and highways? Come on now, this is just a ridiculous notion!

We spend hundreds of billions every year on our roads and highways, yet other types of transit get perhaps a few percent of that figure in total. What's wrong with this picture?

Aaron (Glowrock)

northbay Nov 9, 2010 5:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mfastx (Post 5048010)
Just like how the United States has been subsidizing the Interstate Highway system since it's creation.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5048015)
Don't know what your talking about since I know nothing about that.

wow. that says it all. do you really think roads get built by themselves and take care of themselves without any government subsidization? :koko:

talk about ignorance!

sammyg Nov 9, 2010 6:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5047851)
I don't know, but this is the sense I've had all along about this...



http://www.newsweek.com/2010/10/29/w...ake-sense.html


"How can the government afford $200 million?" - it's spending $6 billion a month in Afghanistan, funding rail might not be as important but it's worth atleast 1/30 as much.

jamesinclair Nov 9, 2010 8:05 AM

You bolded this:
Quote:

Originally Posted by Onn (Post 5047851)
In a report on high-speed rail, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service examined the 12 corridors of 500 miles or less with the most daily air traffic in 2007. Los Angeles to San Francisco led the list with 13,838 passengers; altogether, daily air passengers in these 12 corridors totaled 52,934. If all of them switched to trains, the number of airline passengers, about 2 million a day, would drop only 2.5 percent. Any fuel savings would be less than that; even trains need fuel.

Do I really have to explain why this is a huge failure in logic?

Here's a hint: Planes travel point to point. Trains don't.

You dont just add LA-SF.

You add:

LA-SF
LA-San Jose
LA-Gilroy
LA-Modesto
LA-Fresno
LA-Bakersfield
LA-Palmdale
LA-Anaheim
LA-San Diego
LA-Sacremnto

etc

And then you add

San Jose-SF
San Jose -LA
San Jose-Gilroy
San Jose-Modesto
San Jose-Fresno
San Jose-Bakersfield
San Jose-Palmdale
San Jose-Anaheim
San Jose-San Diego
San Jose-Sacramento


And then you do this for every station paring, for flights, existing trains and cars.

AND THEN you add in population growth, and on top of that, demand created by making cities "closer".


Now how much fuel are you saving? Now whats your ridership?



Edit: Apparently the article uses SFO-LAX numbers ONLY. He "forgot" to include Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Burbank and all the other airports and flights between the two cities.

jamesinclair Nov 9, 2010 8:08 AM

Also, if the writer of the article had done just two minutes of reaserch, he wouldnt have made idiotic statements like this:

Quote:

No one knows the cost. In 2009, the California High-Speed Rail Authority estimated $42.6 billion, up from $33.6 billion in 2008—a huge one-year increase
You know why there was a "huge" one year increase?

Because the accounting changed, from 2010 dollars to 2020 dollars.

That's it. It's the exact same amount of money.

It's like the way the lottery advertises $120million prize money.....but if you take cash it's $60 million. Why? Because the higher amount is 26 years away.

Busy Bee Nov 9, 2010 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jamesinclair (Post 5048426)
You bolded this:


Do I really have to explain why this is a huge failure in logic?

Here's a hint: Planes travel point to point. Trains don't.

You dont just add LA-SF.

You add:

LA-SF
LA-San Jose
LA-Gilroy
LA-Modesto
LA-Fresno
LA-Bakersfield
LA-Palmdale
LA-Anaheim
LA-San Diego
LA-Sacremnto

etc

And then you add

San Jose-SF
San Jose -LA
San Jose-Gilroy
San Jose-Modesto
San Jose-Fresno
San Jose-Bakersfield
San Jose-Palmdale
San Jose-Anaheim
San Jose-San Diego
San Jose-Sacramento


And then you do this for every station paring, for flights, existing trains and cars.

AND THEN you add in population growth, and on top of that, demand created by making cities "closer".


Now how much fuel are you saving? Now whats your ridership?



Edit: Apparently the article uses SFO-LAX numbers ONLY. He "forgot" to include Oakland, San Jose, Long Beach, Burbank and all the other airports and flights between the two cities.

Thank you! That's exactly what I was going to say but I was way too sleepy last night to articulate it that well so I didn't comment. This was stated very well. This IS the biggest difference between comparing point-to-point flights and effective HSR.

JDRCRASH Nov 9, 2010 9:31 PM

Is there a math wiz among us that can figure out the total cost of the Interstate system when adjusted for inflation?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 5047920)
Yet.......................

Something tells me it's gonna happen sooner than we think.........

twoNeurons Nov 10, 2010 12:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sodha (Post 5048048)
Rail never makes money. That's a fact for every system in the world. Even ones with 12 million plus daily ridership, it's still losing money.

Really, when it comes down to it, does ANY infrastructure "MAKE" money? I doubt The New York Subway "Makes" money. "Airports" don't MAKE money (when you account for the cost of the land and money used to build them).

What infrastructure allows is for movement of people, goods and other things... all which makes money. They fall into the support role.
Quote:

However...........................rail provides for significantly higher property tax revenues for counties and states as there is higher density allowed to be created due to the fixed transit guideway put in place. Cities with large rail systems have some of the highest tax revenue collections in order to subsidize the system. Highways need the gas tax for subsidies (and even that is running low on cash due to more fuel efficient cars hitting the market). Rail takes a portion of existing county sales tax in order to keep running.
You're right, you know. The problem is getting people to THINK that way. People have this conscious idea that their gas taxes pay for the interstate system. Whether it's true or not is beside the point. The interstate system allows for a level of prosperity on the national level. To boil it down to a "simple user pay system" is both erroneous and infantile. The interstate system, when you think about it, also provides jobs (American jobs) to maintain it and rebuild it. These people also pay taxes which goes, among other things, to maintaining the interstate system.

We try to put the same logic toward a different model and you obviously have to change the parameters. Trains (many of which use diesel fuel, and therefore should receive some of this gas tax... but anyway...). As you mentioned, however, trains foster denser tax-rich communities which should, in turn be able to support the cost of the infrastructure.

You can't think of infrastructure in the same vein as a company that creates profit. It's different.

Busy Bee Nov 10, 2010 12:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by twoNeurons (Post 5049386)
The interstate system, when you think about it, also provides jobs (American jobs) to maintain it and rebuild it.

So true. And as a bonus, the IHS is built to a 'standard' that ensures at most a 40 year life cycle and near constant surface maintenance - especially in cold climates. This sounds like one fabulous American jobs program! ;)

M II A II R II K Nov 12, 2010 3:32 PM

Preparing the Automobile City for High-Speed Rail


http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB086429

Quote:

It’s up to Roger Sherman, AIA, to find a way to make high-speed rail mass transit work in car-obsessed Los Angeles.

Principal of Roger Sherman Architecture and Urban Design and co-director, with Dana Cuff, of cityLAB, an urban design think tank affiliated with UCLA, Sherman has made a career out of tackling thorny, seemingly intractable urban conundrums and making sense of them. One such project involves urban design strategies for California’s planned high-speed rail network.

Through careful research and analysis, Sherman is attempting to re-assert the urbanizing force of public transit in a city whose history, development patterns, and urban fabric is based almost entirely on the automobile. With $2.25 billion in federal funding, California is moving forward with plans to lay down tracks, linking San Francisco with San Diego. This effort is the leading edge of the Obama Administration‘s $8 billion plan for a nationwide high-speed rail network. Through cityLAB, Sherman was awarded part of a $250,000 grant from the Haynes Foundation to study the urban implications of high-speed rail.

“We always use a research-based approach to design,” explains Sherman. “This allows us to understand the particularities of each site.”

DJM19 Nov 12, 2010 7:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by M II A II R II K (Post 5052586)
Preparing the Automobile City for High-Speed Rail


http://www.aia.org/practicing/AIAB086429


Im tired of articles saying LA development history is based almost entirely on the automobile. It simply isn't true. Rail went to nearly all reaches of LA proper, and up into the San Fernando Valley. Areas that werent built up before the freeways were definitely going to at some point thanks to the trains that extended far away from downtown in ever direction.
But I digress.

Busy Bee Nov 12, 2010 8:36 PM

^Absolutely correct. The Pacific Electric was the glue of the region before the freeways. Selective memory or revisionist history seems to be taking over here - pretending a sprawling megacity has always existed here and a failure to remember anything before 1945.

dave88 Nov 17, 2010 3:39 PM

It`s an interesting topic. This speed highway is going very helpful for the whole infrastructure in this region. Anyway good points from all of you.

dave,

BrennanW Nov 17, 2010 5:25 PM

Most American "auto-centric" cities were built by urban railroads, most notable outside of L.A. are Indianapolis and Kansas City, who now have no rail mass transit, but were completely suburbanized by fast, efficient access to the central city by rail. Now these cities invest soley in limited access highway systems and sometimes BRT systems. Kansas City has the highest per-capita mileage of limited access highway in the world, and it struggles to get a light rail plan off the ground.

Other cities that have large footprints, especially Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, and other midwest cities, are so large because of their once very successful, for-profit tram systems. While it is no lie that sprawl was initially caused by transit, cities which retained effective systems (like Chicago) have very high rail ridership, a dense urban core and dense, mid-urban corridors and suburban cores.

DJM19 Nov 17, 2010 8:46 PM

Los Angeles is dense city. And though it doesn't have the highest mass transit participation in the country, it certainly stands alone in the south west (and the south for that matter).

CTA (chicago) has 1.65 million daily ridership in Jun 2010 according to wikipedia. MTA (LA) has 1.4 million daily ridership in Aug 2010 according to wiki again. This doesnt seem like a big difference. And this is prior to LA's doubling of its rail system that it is now working on.

I think its just a misnomer that transit doesn't work in LA, or that we need think tanks to ponder how to make it work.

202_Cyclist Nov 17, 2010 9:53 PM

Quote:

Los Angeles is dense city. And though it doesn't have the highest mass transit participation in the country, it certainly stands alone in the south west (and the south for that matter).

CTA (chicago) has 1.65 million daily ridership in Jun 2010 according to wikipedia. MTA (LA) has 1.4 million daily ridership in Aug 2010 according to wiki again. This doesnt seem like a big difference. And this is prior to LA's doubling of its rail system that it is now working on.

I think its just a misnomer that transit doesn't work in LA, or that we need think tanks to ponder how to make it work.

Density, the rate of car ownership, and the availability/supply of transit are certainly factors that help determine transit ridersip. The price of subsitutes is another factor. The cost of auto ownership (excluding parking) is higher in California than New York or Chicago, with longer commute times or higher gas prices. According to the Energy Information Agency (http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/petro...home_page.html), gas is 20 cents more per gallon in LA than NYC and ten cents per gallon more than Chicago. Pricing parking, however, would have an even greater impact on encouraging transit ridership. People are far more likely to drive if they have free parking at their destination.

Sodha Nov 18, 2010 12:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by DJM19 (Post 5059272)
Los Angeles is dense city. And though it doesn't have the highest mass transit participation in the country, it certainly stands alone in the south west (and the south for that matter).

CTA (chicago) has 1.65 million daily ridership in Jun 2010 according to wikipedia. MTA (LA) has 1.4 million daily ridership in Aug 2010 according to wiki again. This doesnt seem like a big difference. And this is prior to LA's doubling of its rail system that it is now working on.

I think its just a misnomer that transit doesn't work in LA, or that we need think tanks to ponder how to make it work.

Wow, I didn't realize how close we were to Chicago in terms of ridership. Is that bus AND rail for Chicago? I know LA bus and rail is 1.65 million...but I thought Chicago was 1.6 million for rail only. Can you post the source?

OhioGuy Nov 18, 2010 12:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sodha (Post 5059633)
Wow, I didn't realize how close we were to Chicago in terms of ridership. Is that bus AND rail for Chicago? I know LA bus and rail is 1.65 million...but I thought Chicago was 1.6 million for rail only. Can you post the source?

It's gotta be bus & rail combined. There isn't a city in the US other than NYC that has average daily rail ridership above 1 million. I think DC has the 2nd highest average daily rail ridership somewhere around 800,000?

mfastx Nov 18, 2010 5:25 AM

Daily boarding numbers for most public transportation systems in the US can be found here.

DJM19 Nov 18, 2010 6:02 AM

The numbers I quote from wiki are for all services provided by the CTA and MTA, including bus and rail.

This doesn't include the commuter rail and all other other smaller bus operators in both cities.

JDRCRASH Nov 18, 2010 3:51 PM

Wow, LA is #2 in Bus transit?

Gordo Nov 18, 2010 6:04 PM

^Is that surprising? LA is the second largest city in the country by more than a million people and is more reliant on buses than NYC or Chicago. I'd be shocked if it wasn't #2.

I don't think comparing CTA to MTA is a valid comparison though. MTA covers nearly twice as much population as CTA and is a county-level agency. CTA is city-level, and just happens to spill out into some of the suburbs. MTA is the only agency operating in many LA suburbs.

202_Cyclist Nov 20, 2010 5:35 PM

White House warns Jerry Lewis stimulus cuts will hurt him at home (Politico 11/19)
 
White House warns Jerry Lewis stimulus cuts will hurt him at home
By DAVID ROGERS
11/19/2010
Politico

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1110/45424.html

“Wasting no time, the White House is firing back at a top House Republican, warning that his proposed $12 billion cut from unspent stimulus funds will be felt most in the lawmaker’s back yard in California.

An estimated $2 billion for high speed rail— a priority for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger— could be lost to California as well as energy and transportation projects in or near the home district of Rep. Jerry Lewis, the ranking Republican on the House Appropriations Committee….”

pesto Nov 20, 2010 6:15 PM

Ah the beauty of govt. spending: once you drink the Kool-Aid you have to keep on drinking.

When you think about it, what is really needed is for everyone to think like Lewis, that is, cut projects that don't make economic sense to them. The answer is not for everyone to keep on pushing the pork for their own neighborhoods. In fact, that's the PROBLEM.

And, again, please notice that the administration's position doesn't even pretend to defend the project on transportation grounds. It goes straight to political concerns over employment.

JDRCRASH Nov 21, 2010 12:33 AM

^ How is this "pork"? It's not some politician's "pet project".

northbay Nov 21, 2010 12:56 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5063616)
^ How is this "pork"? It's not some politician's "pet project".

your right jdr, it's not. you know, it's best to just ignore him. he trolls the forums and uses every opportunity to preach his libertarian ideology and refuses to consider any other points of view. he's just trying to provoke people with his post.

northbay Nov 22, 2010 5:39 AM

california joins the call to redirect high speed rail funds not wanted elsewhere here:

Quote:

Feinstein, Boxer want federal HSR funds rejected by other states

Published Wednesday, November 17, 2010, by the Associated Press

Lawmakers want other states' rail money for California
White House could redirect the federal money, senators say

By Kevin Freking
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- With some incoming governors rejecting money for high-speed rail,
California's two U.S. senators are asking the Obama administration to redirect
federal funding to their home state.


The request reflects a national debate about the viability of high-speed rail,
as California officials embrace the effort while officials in other states are
skeptical that such trains are a wise investment.

The Obama administration has awarded billions of dollars to states to jump-start
high-speed rail projects, including $3 billion for California's project. That
rail system would eventually extend some 800 miles, linking Sacramento and the
Bay Area to San Diego. The trains would travel at a speed of up to 220 miles an
hour.

Democratic Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer told Transportation
Secretary Ray LaHood on Tuesday that no state was more determined than
California to put the rail money to use. They pointed out that California voters
have already committed more than $9 billion in bonds to high-speed rail.

"It has come to our attention that several states plan to cancel their
high-speed rail projects," the two senators said in a letter. "We ask that you
withdraw the federal grants to these states and award the funds to states that
have made a strong financial commitment to these very important infrastructure
projects."

...

In Wisconsin, Gov.-elect Scott Walker set up a website called
<http://NoTrain.com>, which criticizes a proposed high-speed rail project
extending from Madison to Milwaukee. "I will put a stop to this boondoggle the
day I take office," he said.

Three Republican congressmen from Wisconsin introduced a bill Tuesday that would
give states the option of returning unwanted high-speed rail funds to the U.S.
Treasury toward reducing the national debt. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, Paul Ryan
and Tom Petri said state leaders should have the authority to prioritize how tax
dollars are being spent.

Cullen Werwie, a Walker spokesman, said the governor-elect "is pleased that
these three leaders understand that the train between Milwaukee and Madison is
dead." Werwie did not immediately return a request for comment about what Walker
thought about the idea that money directed to Wisconsin could end up in another
state.

While there is widespread support for a high-speed train in California, the
project has run into legal trouble.

A coalition of cities and nonprofit groups on the Peninsula recently filed a
lawsuit seeking to halt the first segment of the project -- a proposed line
between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It claims that environmental studies
inflated ridership figures for the proposed train and that the studies did not
meet state requirements.


BATN: See also:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Joins Call for Redirecting HSR Money
http://tinyurl.com/3xuke8z
source: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BATN/message/47140

Busy Bee Nov 22, 2010 3:27 PM

Amazing how the hero complex can stem from legislating against your own interests. What a nightmare.

pesto Nov 22, 2010 8:21 PM

Let's not get childish with ad hominem arguments.

Lewis takes a principled position on cutting a wide variety of projects that he believes are less valuable than their costs. The administration criticizes him for cutting funds to his own district. What could more clearly delineate the worldview and motivations of the two?

This is not "libertarian". This is common sense financial review and being a rational adult. Please remember the comments from the Calfornia state auditor on the original HSR proposals.

More generally, we should stop thinking in terms of good and evil here. We are all looking at getting to the same place (freedom, justice, a better standard of living, greater opportunities, etc.). The discussion is over methods.

fflint Nov 22, 2010 8:29 PM

People: this thread is not about pesto's over-arching political philosophy, nor anyone else's political philosophy. Take your politics into Current Events threads and leave them out of Transportation threads. Enough.

pesto Nov 22, 2010 10:05 PM

And as long as you asked, I am not libertarian. I believe in public transit and that it needs to be subsidized; in fact it needs huge subsidization but it is worth it to keep cities operating. But for this reason we have to subsidize only the projects that are the high priorities. HSR between Palmdale and San Jose (and the ridiculous Riverside-SD route) hasn't shown that to me.

Within the LA and Bay areas it is a high priority. Much more so than certain LRT projects that wander off across the countryside stopping every 4 blocks.

Reminiscence Nov 23, 2010 2:18 AM

All the more reason they should start building this soon. Leave it to the GOP to halt progress:

Quote:


GOP House aims to take $2 billion back from California high-speed rail

By Mike Rosenberg

Wasting no time after a victorious midterm election, GOP Congressional leaders who promised to slash spending are looking to make an example out of the nation's priciest public works project: California's $43 billion high-speed railroad.

A coalition of 27 House Republicans, led by the ranking member of the committee that controls spending, wants to yank $2 billion in stimulus funds promised to California to kick start the massive project.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Redlands, last week introduced the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Rescission Act," which would return the final $12 billion in unspent and uncommitted stimulus funds to the U.S. Treasury to help fight the $1.3 trillion U.S. deficit.

About half the remaining stimulus money is set aside for planned high-speed rail projects. The largest is in California, which has spent nearly $200 million of its $2.25 billion award on planning but is saving the rest for construction.

Without stimulus funds -- which unlocked another $2 billion in matching state bond money -- California would not have enough cash available to start construction and no timeline to do so.

The state plans to spend more than $4 billion to start laying tracks in the Central Valley by the stimulus deadline of September 2012. The tracks would extend to the Caltrain line from San Francisco to San Jose and to Southern California, with service starting by 2020.

Although the funds would barely make a dent in the deficit, Lewis said the bill was only the "tip of the iceberg" in "dramatically scaling back funding" during the next two years.

"There is no better place to begin this process," Lewis said in a letter to President Barack Obama dated Nov. 15. "This represents a first down-payment in GOP efforts to eliminate wasteful government spending and reduce the deficit."

The Obama administration sent back a response defending the project, saying the bill would "negatively impact our economic strength both now and in the future." High-speed rail is a signature program for Obama, who sees such projects as a way to create jobs and improve transportation options.

"We can ill-afford to take such action at this time of heightened economic challenges," Jeffrey Zients, acting director of the Office of Management and Budget, wrote on behalf of Obama.

Although the bill would have to get past a Democrat-controlled Senate and Obama's veto pen, the sentiment behind the legislation is enough to give the California High-Speed Rail Authority pause. The agency is banking on not only keeping its stimulus money but attracting another $15 billion from the federal government during the decade.

Authority spokeswoman Rachel Wall said Monday the agency knows it will be a challenge to secure the money but leaders aren't panicking.

"True high-speed rail is worth funding," she said, adding she thought the benefits of the project were too great for Congress to pass the bill removing the funding.

Also subject to losing stimulus funds under the bill is the Doyle Drive replacement project in San Francisco, which has been awarded $46 million.

H.R. 6403 is awaiting discussion in three House subcommittees, including appropriations, of which Lewis is the ranking member and hopes to chair come January. Among the bill's 26 co-sponsors as of Monday are four Republicans from California, although none from the Bay Area.

Mike Rosenberg covers San Mateo, Burlingame, Belmont and transportation. Contact him at 650-348-4324.
Source: http://www.insidebayarea.com/oakland...208?source=rss

DJM19 Nov 23, 2010 7:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Reminiscence (Post 5065918)
All the more reason they should start building this soon. Leave it to the GOP to halt progress:



Source: http://www.insidebayarea.com/oakland...208?source=rss

They will never be successful doing this. Obama would instantly Veto it, even if it had a prayer of passing in the first place. And their promises that this is the tip of the iceberg is also false.

Besides, this isn't pork. Its major investment in infrastructure. If they are looking to recover insignificant amounts of money, they can go after pork spending. Then when that does not dent the debt, they can change the subject.

JDRCRASH Nov 24, 2010 4:55 AM

How much votes is needed to override a veto?

electricron Nov 24, 2010 7:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JDRCRASH (Post 5067628)
How much votes is needed to override a veto?

The United States Senate requires a supermajority of three-fifths to move to a vote through a cloture motion, which closes debate on a bill or nomination, thus ending a filibuster by a minority of members. In current practice, the mere threat of a filibuster prevents passing almost any measure that has less than three-fifths agreement in the Senate—60 of the 100 Senators.

The United States Constitution requires a supermajority of two-thirds of both houses of Congress to propose a Congress-driven constitutional amendment; it also requires a three-quarters supermajority of state legislatures for final adoption of any constitutional amendment, a two-thirds supermajority of both houses of Congress to pass a bill over the president's veto, a majority of the fixed membership to elect a President and Vice President (of Electors in the Electoral College, or if the election should pass to the Congress to decide, a majority of State delegations in the House to elect the President, and a majority of Senators to elect the Vice President), and a two-thirds supermajority of the Senate to ratify a treaty.

To override a Presidential veto it takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress.

JDRCRASH Nov 24, 2010 5:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by electricron (Post 5067752)
To override a Presidential veto it takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress.

So, for now at least, it won't happen then, right?

My biggest fear is the US Congress turning into the California Legislature. We've already seen what a state like California can do when it comes to raiding transportation funds just to fill a budget hole for just one year. Meaning that not only is taking money from investments like those dedicated to HSR morally wrong, they offer temporary relief.

202_Cyclist Nov 24, 2010 6:10 PM

At the Federal level, transportation funding has been a bit different the past several yrs. The 18.4 cent per gallon federal gas tax hasn't been sufficient to meet all the funding needs and oligations, and has had to be bailed out by general fund contributions of $7-$8B per year, yet another subsidy for driving.

The Transport Politic had a good post yesterday about the prospects for funding transportation in the next Congress with all the Hoover-esque Republicans who are going to be in Washington for 2 yrs.

202_Cyclist Nov 24, 2010 6:18 PM

Since these subsidies are for highways and not high speed rail or transit, they don't really count (as the oil-industry hacks at Reason or Cato would have you believe). According to Robert Poole or Randal O'Toole, high speed rail is unique among all modes of transportation, as only this mode should be required to cover all its operating costs and generate a profit.

ElDuderino Nov 24, 2010 9:53 PM

High Speed Rail Authority seeks approval for first phase of construction

By Timm Herdt
Ventura County Star
Posted November 24, 2010 at 12:02 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — Officials at the California High-Speed Rail Authority said Wednesday they will ask board members next week to approve the first phase of construction — a 54-mile stretch of track that will run through the heart of Fresno.

The hope is that this initial phase, funded by $4.3 billion in federal stimulus money, will ultimately be connected to a high-speed system that will run from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

As a stand-alone section, the proposed segment would never be electrified and never actually carry trains. Officials are hoping, however, that by the time the initial segment is completed, funding will be secured to extend the track either north to Merced or south to Bakersfield, at which point the state’s first high-speed passenger service would begin.

If funding is ultimately not available, the project will be designed to accommodate connectors to existing routes used by Amtrak, allowing for improved rail service up and down the Central Valley. Terms of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funding require the project have such stand-alone utility, and money will be set aside to construct the connector lines if they are needed.

The segment would begin in Madera, run south through Fresno and terminate in Corcoran, said Jeff Barker, deputy director. The project would include construction of two stations, in Fresno and one that would serve the Tulare-Visalia area.

“It will have a dramatic effect on the entire valley, and in fact the entire state,” Barker said. He noted economists estimate 20,000 jobs are created for every $1 billion in infrastructure spending, meaning the project could create 80,000 jobs in the Central Valley once construction begins in September 2012.

The estimated cost of the entire Los Angeles to San Francisco line is $42.6 billion. State voters approved $10 billion in bonds to help finance the project, which has since received a boost from federal stimulus money.

In a letter last week to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said California will be happy to accept additional stimulus funds for high-speed rail. The letter came in the wake of announcements by two newly elected governors that they are considering turning down previously approved high-speed rail funding.

source: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/nov/...proval-for-of/


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