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

edluva Aug 1, 2014 6:08 PM

Quote:

California bullet train project wins major court victory

In a victory for California's bullet train project, an appellate court Thursday overturned a lower court ruling that found the state had failed to comply with the law in developing a funding plan for the $68-billion line between Los Angeles and San Francisco..

The decision lifts a significant cloud that hung over the California High-Speed Rail Authority's ability to move the project ahead over the next several years, when it plans to start construction of a 130-mile segment of track in the Central Valley and accelerate planning on a 40-mile section from Burbank to Palmdale.

...The appellate court decision, which does not become final for 30 days, sends the matter back to Superior Court and orders Kenny to enter a judgment that allows the authority to issue the rail bonds. The ruling could help free up billions of dollars in state funding for the project, but the rail authority already is in a better financial position than when Kenny issued his initial ruling last November.

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-0...801-story.html

After a long period of uncertainty, looks like momentum is starting to swing in favor of HSR. This is a really big victory for CA, but it appears to be one hurdle out of multiple hurdles the state must clear.

This good news comes on the heels of CAHSR getting a committed and steady stream of money from cap and trade funds last week, prompting private HSR contractors from France and Spain to express interest in investing in CAHSR :cheers:


Quote:

California bullet train: Interest from private investors revives shaky funding plan

Last week, demolition began in Fresno to clear the way for the first stretch of track. More significantly, private investors across the country and abroad are expressing new interest in bankrolling part of the $68 billion project.

The lawsuits that have stymied the plan aren't yet resolved, but a budget agreement brokered by Gov. Jerry Brown that guarantees the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles rail line its first funding stream -- one that leading economists say could reach about three quarters of a billion dollars annually -- has emerged as a "game changer," high-speed rail experts say.

Inking a deal that will send the project hundreds of millions of dollars a year in fees collected from polluters is the signal the private sector was waiting for, according to formal letters of interest the state received last month. With only a fraction of the project's funding in hand, the state needs private investment for about one-third of the final price tag to have any hope of completing the rail line.

"The new funding gives us confidence that as political leanings and priorities change, it won't be easy for the government to back out of its end of the deal," said Stephen Polechronis, senior vice president of Los Angeles-based AECOM, one of the world's largest engineering and construction firms. "We feel we have a partner now."

To be sure, the bullet train project is hardly home free. Questions about the state's ability to obtain more construction funding -- especially from a skeptical Congress, avoid expensive construction delays and operate the rail line without heavy taxpayer subsidies still linger.

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, the incoming House majority leader from Bakersfield, said in an interview last week that he vows to do what he can to kill the project. "If Sacramento looks to Washington to pay for the train, that will never happen," he told the New York Times.

Before now, there's been virtually no interest from private companies because there was no ongoing government commitment to fund the line.

It's too soon to know what kinds of investments the authority will seek to leverage with its new state funding. The state could ask private companies to give loans that must be paid back with interest, or it may seek financial support from companies that could design, build, operate and maintain portions of the rail line, like the new Burbank-to-Palmdale segment the authority's board is set to consider next month. Those kinds of public-private partnerships are typical in Europe and Japan, where bullet trains are commonplace.

......

It's difficult to predict how much the new state funding will grow as California's cap-and-trade program kicks into gear, but some economists say the project will get another $4 billion through 2020, and the Legislative Analyst's Office forecasts it could climb close to $2 billion annually.

The value of stable, ongoing sources of funding for huge infrastructure projects like the bullet train is huge, said Lou Thompson, a veteran rail expert and consultant who chairs an independent group created by the Legislature to evaluate high-speed rail funding plans.
..... [/I]
http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci...estors-revives

phoenixboi08 Aug 1, 2014 7:17 PM

It also looks like the last big hurdle is out of the way. We may just finally see structural work begin sometime by the end of the summer.

Quote:

Originally Posted by San Jose Mercury News; Jessica Calefati
In a decision the appellate court judges call "quite narrow," they found the rail authority's finance committee acted properly last year when it voted to approve the issuance of bonds and called Kinney's scrutiny of the committee's work "highly unusual." The state had asked for pre-approval from the Superior Court to sell the bonds to avoid any future legal challenges.

The appellate judges also refused to force the Legislature to rescind and redo a bullet train funding plan it approved several years ago that was at the heart of the opposition's case for killing the project.


202_Cyclist Aug 13, 2014 9:13 PM

Central Valley bullet train construction gets federal go-ahead
 
Central Valley bullet train construction gets federal go-ahead

By Dan Weikel
LA Times
Aug. 12, 2013

"Federal officials on Tuesday cleared the way for construction of a major segment of the California bullet train project: 114 miles of track from Fresno to Bakersfield.

After months of reviewing the proposed route and related environmental studies, the Surface Transportation Board conditionally approved the longest section of the Central Valley alignment, exempting it from further board oversight.

"This is the final clearance for construction," said Lisa Marie Alley, a spokeswoman for the California High Speed Rail Authority. "There is nothing else the Surface Transportation Board needs to do..."

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/l...812-story.html

LosAngelesSportsFan Aug 13, 2014 9:42 PM

Definitely picking up steam!

202_Cyclist Aug 13, 2014 9:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan (Post 6690186)
Definitely picking up steam!

Agreed! There is this approval, the state funding plan, the dismissal of the lawsuit, etc...

dleung Sep 13, 2014 9:21 PM

It's probably been posted already, but can someone repost a map of the proposed corridor alignment within LA? Thanks

edluva Sep 17, 2014 1:18 AM

... so when do they break ground. like really break ground?

N830MH Sep 17, 2014 1:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edluva (Post 6732451)
... so when do they break ground. like really break ground?

Yes, they already break ground. They will begin construction. Hopefully they will be completion sometime in 2018 or so.

202_Cyclist Dec 12, 2014 9:11 PM

California selects contractors for next phase of bullet train route
 
This shows how ridiculous the 'train to nowhere' Republican partisan rhetoric is. One of the reasons why the Central Valley was chosen first is that construction and land costs to build high speed rail are significantly less in the Central Valley than the coastal areas of the state.

California selects contractors for next phase of bullet train route

By RALPH VARTABEDIAN
LA Times
Dec. 11, 2014

"The state high-speed rail authority took another key step Thursday in building the initial segments of the bullet train system between Los Angeles and San Francisco, saying it had preliminarily selected a team of contractors for another 65 miles of the route through the Central Valley.

While the agency continues to move ahead with planning, contracts, legal settlements and political agreements, it has yet to start heavy construction in Fresno, which was expected about two years ago. But officials have vowed that the late start will not delay their completion dates in 2017 and 2018 for about 130 miles of rail line from Madera to Bakersfield.

The team for the 65-mile section, led by Dragados USA, a subsidiary of a Spanish construction firm, submitted the lowest of three bids for the new contract and was judged as having the highest technical competence score. It submitted a bid of $1.23 billion, well below the $1.74 billion submitted by the team led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini and the $2.07 billion by the team led by Samsung E&C Americas, a Los Angeles-based unit of a South Korean conglomerate.

The low bid came in well under the state estimate of $1.5 billion to $2 billion for the work. Jeff Morales, chief executive of the rail agency, credited the low prices to strong competition and said Thursday's decision is a "significant milestone" in the project..."

http://www.latimes.com/local/califor...212-story.html

LosAngelesSportsFan Dec 12, 2014 9:48 PM

That is a significant savings. Lets get this going asap!

202_Cyclist Dec 12, 2014 10:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan (Post 6841766)
That is a significant savings. Lets get this going asap!

Hopefully the CA HSR Authority can leverage this $300M - $800M through value-capture or some other innovative fiancing method to further extend this to Bakersfield and south towards the Southern California basin.

LosAngelesSportsFan Dec 13, 2014 12:42 AM

exactly my thoughts

BrownTown Dec 13, 2014 2:46 AM

What mechanisms are in place to ensure that the actual cost ends up being consistent with the bid? Having worked in construction I can tell you that we often had two cost evaluations. One was the "private" evaluation which was what we actually thought the project would cost and the second was the "public" evaluation which was what we thought it would take to win the bid. All too often the contracts are structured such that what you bid and what you eventually end up getting paid are two totally different numbers. I hope that California is wise enough to make these contracts have binding maximum payouts and not simply let these companies submit hundreds of millions of dollars in change orders and adders after making a bogus low bid to win the project.

Xerx Dec 13, 2014 9:30 PM

Anyone else find it amusing how the winning bid was $1,234,567,890?

edluva Dec 14, 2014 8:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 6841799)
Hopefully the CA HSR Authority can leverage this $300M - $800M through value-capture or some other innovative fiancing method to further extend this to Bakersfield and south towards the Southern California basin.

hopefully Dragados' underbidding of CAHSR's very own estimates will continue to make this increasingly palatable to the public as each additional segment is contracted out. may be a long shot considering the increasing complexity of future segments but who knows, maybe we'll vastly undershoot CAHSR's own ridiculous estimates

202_Cyclist Jan 2, 2015 4:23 PM

San Joaquin Valley trains continue to attract more riders
 
But CA high-speed rail is certain to fail because nobody rides trains in California....

San Joaquin Valley trains continue to attract more riders

By Garth Stapley
Modesto Bee
Jan. 1, 2015

http://www.modbee.com/news/local/art...#storylink=rss

202_Cyclist Jan 2, 2015 4:28 PM

Symbolic groundbreaking Tuesday in Fresno for high-speed rail
 
Symbolic groundbreaking Tuesday in Fresno for high-speed rail

By Tim Sheehan
Fresno Bee
Jan. 1, 2015

http://www.fresnobee.com/2015/01/01/...sday.html?rh=1

Illithid Dude Jan 5, 2015 9:50 AM

I gotta say, I'm surprised this is actually, finally happening. I had my doubts, to say the least. Now, let's see if it will actually hit L.A. or San Fransisco...

Eightball Jan 5, 2015 3:57 PM

Both articles posted by 202 are great news! What an exciting time for California rail throughout the state. And it's only going to get better...

Took the train to Oakland a couple months ago and it was packed of course, both ways. I don't see why they don't immediately double or triple frequency on that line as a precursor to CAHSR. Or the long talked about overnight service.

NorthernDancer Jan 6, 2015 12:17 AM

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/2...nned-for-2015/

http://www.thetransportpolitic.com/i...ments-2015.jpg

edluva Jan 6, 2015 9:23 AM

good news. now wake me up when we get funding commitments for the LA or SF tie-ins

Onn Jan 7, 2015 7:12 PM

Finally, about time this got underway! :)

BrownTown Jan 7, 2015 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edluva (Post 6864872)
good news. now wake me up when we get funding commitments for the LA or SF tie-ins

Usually projects like this use a sort of "sunk cost" approach to justify completion. If they can get all of the cheap segments built then it will provide a strong case for completion of the much more difficult and expensive urban portions because all the money which has already been spent would be wasted without the connections to the states biggest cities. My bigger concern is that they end up going the cheapest routes possible into the big cities which means running at "normal" rail speeds instead of high speed which will really slow down the average commute time. In order to be "high speed" you have to look at the average speed and that can get killed if you end up with huge slowdowns at each end. In the end it might not matter all that much though since it's still not as bad as the slowdowns going though airport security. :yuck:

phoenixboi08 Jan 8, 2015 12:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 6866828)
Usually projects like this use a sort of "sunk cost" approach to justify completion. If they can get all of the cheap segments built then it will provide a strong case for completion of the much more difficult and expensive urban portions because all the money which has already been spent would be wasted without the connections to the states biggest cities. My bigger concern is that they end up going the cheapest routes possible into the big cities which means running at "normal" rail speeds instead of high speed which will really slow down the average commute time. In order to be "high speed" you have to look at the average speed and that can get killed if you end up with huge slowdowns at each end. In the end it might not matter all that much though since it's still not as bad as the slowdowns going though airport security. :yuck:

The IOS will integrate with the existing Amtrak services to allow revenue service in the interim. More importantly, this revenue will be borrowed against to help finance the ends. It's not as difficult as people insist on making it out to be...

eleven=11 Jan 8, 2015 12:02 AM

what about the new train station in Anaheim near the hockey arena
and Angels stadium?? is it done soon....

phoenixboi08 Jan 8, 2015 12:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by eleven=11 (Post 6866860)
what about the new train station in Anaheim near the hockey arena
and Angels stadium?? is it done soon....

ARTIC...?

BrownTown Jan 8, 2015 1:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 (Post 6866855)
The IOS will integrate with the existing Amtrak services to allow revenue service in the interim. More importantly, this revenue will be borrowed against to help finance the ends. It's not as difficult as people insist on making it out to be...

Without the ends that segment will never carry enough passengers to justify the cost. You can only justify its construction as part of the overall system, not on its own merits. It will be losing money every day until the ends are complete. And that's all assuming that they can even acquire the land they need given how liberal California judges are and how much eminent domain will be required. It's unfortunate that California has probably the best distribution of cities and open land to build high speed rail but also probably the most difficult political environment in which to get it built.

Obadno Jan 8, 2015 5:02 PM

Does anyone know what the fare prices will eventually be?

Living in Phoenix I naturally go to California a lot for work, vacation, family & friends etc.

But if it isnt cheaper than flying and faster than driving why would anyone take a train?

Thats really the only requirement. Because if the price isnt drastically lower than a plane ticket from LA-SF I will just pay the extra 20-30$ and be on a 45 minute flight.

From eurpeans how long is the security check in etc ususally at trains? Americans dont really have a lot of expereince (not in the last 70 years anyway) does it take as long to check in as an airport?

As it is right now to drive from Phoenix or Tucson to LA or San Diego its about 5/6 hours. Conversly flights are only an hour but with all the time to go to the airport etc you really dont save a lot of time flying which is why many opt to drive.

Id imagine its similar for LA to sanfrancisco (about the same distance) The only way this train will have a point (other than a gian make work program) is if it can be faster than driving (it will) AND much cheaper than flying.

spoonman Jan 8, 2015 5:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 6867554)
Does anyone know what the fare prices will eventually be?

Living in Phoenix I naturally go to California a lot for work, vacation, family & friends etc.

But if it isnt cheaper than flying and faster than driving why would anyone take a train?

Thats really the only requirement. Because if the price isnt drastically lower than a plane ticket from LA-SF I will just pay the extra 20-30$ and be on a 45 minute flight.

From eurpeans how long is the security check in etc ususally at trains? Americans dont really have a lot of expereince (not in the last 70 years anyway) does it take as long to check in as an airport?

As it is right now to drive from Phoenix or Tucson to LA or San Diego its about 5/6 hours. Conversly flights are only an hour but with all the time to go to the airport etc you really dont save a lot of time flying which is why many opt to drive.

Id imagine its similar for LA to sanfrancisco (about the same distance) The only way this train will have a point (other than a gian make work program) is if it can be faster than driving (it will) AND much cheaper than flying.

Some good points that driving can often be comparable to flying when all factors are taken into account. Though I would say that as traffic continues to worsen in many places, flying or the train will seem like even better choices.

jg6544 Jan 8, 2015 6:07 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 6867554)
Does anyone know what the fare prices will eventually be?

Living in Phoenix I naturally go to California a lot for work, vacation, family & friends etc.

But if it isnt cheaper than flying and faster than driving why would anyone take a train?

Thats really the only requirement. Because if the price isnt drastically lower than a plane ticket from LA-SF I will just pay the extra 20-30$ and be on a 45 minute flight.

From eurpeans how long is the security check in etc ususally at trains? Americans dont really have a lot of expereince (not in the last 70 years anyway) does it take as long to check in as an airport?

As it is right now to drive from Phoenix or Tucson to LA or San Diego its about 5/6 hours. Conversly flights are only an hour but with all the time to go to the airport etc you really dont save a lot of time flying which is why many opt to drive.

Id imagine its similar for LA to sanfrancisco (about the same distance) The only way this train will have a point (other than a gian make work program) is if it can be faster than driving (it will) AND much cheaper than flying.

One can work on a train. One can relax on a train. One does not often get stuck in traffic on a train. There are no security Nazis on trains.

Those just pop into my head. I'm sure if I gave it time, I could come up with more.

bobg Jan 8, 2015 6:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 6867554)
From eurpeans how long is the security check in etc ususally at trains? Americans dont really have a lot of expereince (not in the last 70 years anyway) does it take as long to check in as an airport?

I am not European but have traveled on just about every HSR line in Europe (and Taiwan + Japan). The only time I recall ever running into a security checkpoint was at Gare Du Nord in Paris taking the Eurostar to London. You have to clear UK customs, and they have a security checkpoint similar to pre 9/11 airport security, but it took less than a half hour to do all of that. I believe they only have security on the Eurostar because they are afraid someone will blow up the Chunnel.

Fortunately I knew about the Eurostar in advance as I usually aim for getting to the station 15 minutes before the train leaves, and to date have not missed a train.

Security is one of the inherent time advantages rail travel has over flying, in that security can be more lax because hijacking a train is kind of pointless, and to cause serious harm to numerous people on a train is not any easier than doing it at other unsecured potential terrorist/whacko targets like shopping malls.

Additionally, there's no checking in, you put your luggage on the luggage racks within your assigned coach after you board. You usually print your tickets at an automated kiosk or online (some systems have smartphone tickets now). The conductor is usually the one who verifies your tickets are in order (some use scanners with turnstiles for that, some use both scanners + turnstiles and conductor)

202_Cyclist Jan 8, 2015 6:56 PM

jg6544:
Quote:

One can work on a train. One can relax on a train. One does not often get stuck in traffic on a train.
Exactly right. When we took Amtrak from Washington to New York before Christmas, I had two good beers, read for a bit, and took a short nap. You can't do any of thees when driving on I-5.

Obadno:
Quote:

But if it isnt cheaper than flying and faster than driving why would anyone take a train?
The thing is thta flying, even on Southwest, isn't cheap any more. Sure, if you want to visit grandma this spring and book a ticket two months from now, you can find a deal on airfare perhaps. If you are traveling for business and have to fly from San Francisco to LAX for the day next Tuesday, a ticket will cost nearly $425. The flight on this sample itinerary departs at 6:05 AM and arrives at 7:25 AM. This is 80 minutes of flight time. It is recommended to arrive at the airport 60 minutes prior to a domestic departure. It probably takes 15 minutes to leave the airport from the time the aircraft arrives at the gate at your destination. Additionally, the ground-travel time to reach SFO from the central business district is probably 20 min and the time to reach downtown LA from LAX is probably 30 minutes. Thus, total travel time is 205 min. each way, nearly three hours, for the air passenger. Additionally, this is on a very small seat in a 737, without internet or an extra fee for internet.

High-speed rail might not be competitive for every trip but there are many trips where it will absolutely be competitive with air travel.

Obadno Jan 8, 2015 8:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bobg (Post 6867702)
I am not European but have traveled on just about every HSR line in Europe (and Taiwan + Japan). The only time I recall ever running into a security checkpoint was at Gare Du Nord in Paris taking the Eurostar to London. You have to clear UK customs, and they have a security checkpoint similar to pre 9/11 airport security, but it took less than a half hour to do all of that. I believe they only have security on the Eurostar because they are afraid someone will blow up the Chunnel.

Fortunately I knew about the Eurostar in advance as I usually aim for getting to the station 15 minutes before the train leaves, and to date have not missed a train.

Security is one of the inherent time advantages rail travel has over flying, in that security can be more lax because hijacking a train is kind of pointless, and to cause serious harm to numerous people on a train is not any easier than doing it at other unsecured potential terrorist/whacko targets like shopping malls.

Additionally, there's no checking in, you put your luggage on the luggage racks within your assigned coach after you board. You usually print your tickets at an automated kiosk or online (some systems have smartphone tickets now). The conductor is usually the one who verifies your tickets are in order (some use scanners with turnstiles for that, some use both scanners + turnstiles and conductor)



I would be quite surprised if there wasnt the Gestapo-esque security on Caltrain.

No way the TSA is missing out on that juicey target. But checking bags is something I didnt consider I guess that adds a lot of time, checking/claiming bags always adds like 45 minutes

edluva Jan 8, 2015 8:39 PM

i think it's funny how many americans turn obvious solutions into controversy. HSR is one of them. have questions about HSR? look to the rest of the industrialized world.

phoenixboi08 Jan 8, 2015 9:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 6866963)
Without the ends that segment will never carry enough passengers to justify the cost. You can only justify its construction as part of the overall system, not on its own merits. It will be losing money every day until the ends are complete. And that's all assuming that they can even acquire the land they need given how liberal California judges are and how much eminent domain will be required. It's unfortunate that California has probably the best distribution of cities and open land to build high speed rail but also probably the most difficult political environment in which to get it built.

The business plan obviously disagrees.
I'm not in a position to argue either way, I'm just pointing out that this is the plan; the IOS is not just some piece stuck out in the middle of nowhere, but something that will be able to be used in the interim, earning revenues that can be borrowed against.

mello Jan 8, 2015 9:28 PM

Why not start with connecting the two closest mega regions with very strong ties first? SD/TJ to LA? That Amtrack route is very busy and seems like it would be a good way to test this concept. Tons of tourists who fly in from Europe and Asia want to see both San Diego and LA in the same trip as well.

Question: How many miles of Subway could you get for the 100 billion this train is going to cost in the end? It would be nice to say have 30 miles of it built in SD, 50 in LA, and another 30 to 50 in Bay Area and around 10 in Sacramento. Do you think all of this could be done with 100 billion dollars? This built along with Vancouver/Toronto style high rise villages around each stop would be huge for CA, sometimes I think this would be a better way to spend 100 billion then on High Speed Rail from San Diego to Sacramento...

202_Cyclist Jan 8, 2015 9:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edluva (Post 6867918)
i think it's funny how many americans turn obvious solutions into controversy. HSR is one of them. have questions about HSR? look to the rest of the industrialized world.

Yep--- it is one thing when France, Germany, China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Spain, and Britain have better passenger rail than us but it is getting pretty pathetic when even Uzbeki-beki-beki-beki-beki-stan does as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tashken...peed_rail_line.

BrownTown Jan 8, 2015 9:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edluva (Post 6867918)
i think it's funny how many americans turn obvious solutions into controversy. HSR is one of them. have questions about HSR? look to the rest of the industrialized world.

The rest of the world isn't always the best example though. What China can build in 3 years for 5 billion dollars we somehow need 10 years and 40 billion dollars. Those are just random numbers I made up, but the point is that in the US the paperwork, regulations and lawyers are so crazy that you end up just pouring money down the drain half the time. Even Europe seems to be able to get stuff done far more easily than we in the US can.

On a totally unrelated note: Does anyone know when we will actually see real construction visible? I'm assuming this is just a ceremonial "start"?

202_Cyclist Jan 8, 2015 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mello (Post 6867970)
Question: How many miles of Subway could you get for the 100 billion this train is going to cost in the end? It would be nice to say have 30 miles of it built in SD, 50 in LA, and another 30 to 50 in Bay Area and around 10 in Sacramento. Do you think all of this could be done with 100 billion dollars? This built along with Vancouver/Toronto style high rise villages around each stop would be huge for CA, sometimes I think this would be a better way to spend 100 billion then on High Speed Rail from San Diego to Sacramento...

This isn't zero-sum. There is no reason there can't be both investments in local/regional transit systems at the same time that CA invests in high-speed rail. LA is building a very ambitious transit expansion now with four different rail lines under construction. It is only because of the Republican Tea Party Ayn Rand disciples that such choices need to be made. If we can spend $600B on defense every single year, we can certainly afford to spend $68B on this high-speed rail investment over the 10 or 15 year construction cycle while also building local streetcars and subway extensions.

spoonman Jan 8, 2015 9:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 6867981)
The rest of the world isn't always the best example though. What China can build in 3 years for 5 billion dollars we somehow need 10 years and 40 billion dollars. Those are just random numbers I made up, but the point is that in the US the paperwork, regulations and lawyers are so crazy that you end up just pouring money down the drain half the time. Even Europe seems to be able to get stuff done far more easily than we in the US can.

I hate to sound like a crack pot, but this is exactly why states rights are so important. At the national level (and even state in CA), people can't agree on anything because there are too many parties involved. States for the most part are small enough to chart their own individual destinies. Not a point so much as an observation. :cheers:

LosAngelesSportsFan Jan 8, 2015 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edluva (Post 6867918)
i think it's funny how many americans turn obvious solutions into controversy. HSR is one of them. have questions about HSR? look to the rest of the industrialized world.

Exactly. Its as though 3/4ths of this Country lives in a damn bubble.

BrownTown Jan 8, 2015 11:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan (Post 6868072)
Exactly. Its as though 3/4ths of this Country lives in a damn bubble.

Like 98% of people in the US won't ever use a California high speed rail line so it does at least make a little sense for them to obstruct it. Not trying to play politics here too much, but to a lot of people it doesn't seem like their federal taxes should go to pay for a state project. Or at the very least it seems a little unfair that almost all the federal mass transit money seems to end up in rich blue states and not places where it could go much further. Atlanta has had some very reasonably priced proposed MARTA expansions that they can never get any money for.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 6867988)
It is only because of the Republican Tea Party Ayn Rand disciples that such choices need to be made.

Consider the irony that Ayn Rand's most famous work, "Atlas Shrugged" is about the protagonist trying to build a high speed rail network in the US and being obstructed by politicians that she eventually has to give up.

LosAngelesSportsFan Jan 8, 2015 11:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 6868150)
Like 98% of people in the US won't ever use a California high speed rail line so it does at least make a little sense for them to obstruct it. Not trying to play politics here too much, but to a lot of people it doesn't seem like their federal taxes should go to pay for a state project. Or at the very least it seems a little unfair that almost all the federal mass transit money seems to end up in rich blue states and not places where it could go much further. Atlanta has had some very reasonably priced proposed MARTA expansions that they can never get any money for.


Consider the irony that Ayn Rand's most famous work, "Atlas Shrugged" is about the protagonist trying to build a high speed rail network in the US and being obstructed by politicians that she eventually has to give up.

Yes, but if those people want to play that game, then lets also point out that they mostly live in welfare states that mooch off of California and the rest of the money producing blue states. We should get more of the money because we are what keeps this country on top

eleven=11 Jan 8, 2015 11:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by phoenixboi08 (Post 6866863)
ARTIC...?

thanks , didnt know this was done and open
is it part of High Speed Network?
anybody got a map/plan?

BrownTown Jan 9, 2015 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan (Post 6868159)
Yes, but if those people want to play that game, then lets also point out that they mostly live in welfare states that mooch off of California and the rest of the money producing blue states. We should get more of the money because we are what keeps this country on top

It's much more of a mixed bag than you make it out to be concerning the political leanings of states and districts that take more than they give. However, federal programs like Social Security and Medicare apply to everyone whereas intrastate transportation projects don't. It's not just Republicans that complain about projects like high speed rail though. Pretty much EVERYONE complains about raising the gas tax for instance and it's actually Republicans pushing to raise it to pay for more transportation projects currently.

All that aside, CAHSR as a specific project faces its own political hurdles that have nothing to do with political affiliations. It's not going to be people in red states that put it in jeopary, it's going to be all the NIMBYs who hate new construction and use the court system to try and make sure nothing every gets done. It's actually Republicans (as a party) that are fighting hardest against these sort of excessive regulations and lawsuits.

Obadno Jan 9, 2015 7:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by edluva (Post 6867918)
i think it's funny how many Americans turn obvious solutions into controversy. HSR is one of them. have questions about HSR? look to the rest of the industrialized world.

To be fair I don't think Europeans consider nor appreciate both the cultural and physical differences between the USA and Europe.

Only a few select regions in North America have population density where HSR makes sense.

That's California (specifically southern and the bay-Sacramento), Puget Sound, NE Bos-Washington Corridor, Southern Florida, Central Texas Maybe something in the Midwest (Ohio, or maybe Minneapolis to Indianapolis?)

Now you are talking adding major infrastructure where none exists, which is outrageous and people wont bother with it unless it is attractive/cheap/convenient enough to not just take a car.

So then you run into the problem of states that will never use the system sending tax dollars to other states for that states train. Just like France inst about to pay for Romania's, or Poland's rail. Many states especially poor ones are not okay with tax money leaving their state and assisting California (a rich state) build a train that may or may not be a waste of money.

So you see the challenges here.

Rail>Auto Jan 9, 2015 9:03 AM

Will there be construction cams set up along the way? And what will happen to Amtrak in California once this system opens? Will it be replaced or run parallel to the system?

waltlantz Jan 9, 2015 11:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Obadno (Post 6868597)
To be fair I don't think Europeans consider nor appreciate both the cultural and physical differences between the USA and Europe.

Only a few select regions in North America have population density where HSR makes sense.

That's California (specifically southern and the bay-Sacramento), Puget Sound, NE Bos-Washington Corridor, Southern Florida, Central Texas Maybe something in the Midwest (Ohio, or maybe Minneapolis to Indianapolis?)

Now you are talking adding major infrastructure where none exists, which is outrageous and people wont bother with it unless it is attractive/cheap/convenient enough to not just take a car.

So then you run into the problem of states that will never use the system sending tax dollars to other states for that states train. Just like France inst about to pay for Romania's, or Poland's rail. Many states especially poor ones are not okay with tax money leaving their state and assisting California (a rich state) build a train that may or may not be a waste of money.

So you see the challenges here.

These are excellent points. Everyone should always regard projects with a decent amount of scrutiny.

Yet, I can't help but notice how other countries seem to be more willing to focus required amount of infrastructure spending on their biggest economic engines: look at the big movements the Liberals are trying to do in Ontario with Metrolinx Big Move and the like.

Then you have the aforementioned HSR projects worldwide.

I guess it does sound snooty as hell, but at the end of the day, cities keep the countries relevant so we have to figure out how to sell these regional projects as benefiting the WHOLE of the nation.

Either through providing examples or launching points for other regional projects.

Or just by emphasizing that these projects make our major cities all the more marketable to pump even MORE money into the national economy.

Highlight the rising boat lifts all tides angle.

Because forget keeping up with the rest of the world, we just aren't keeping up WITH OURSELVES.

On another topic, improved national focus and spending on infrastructure is important to me. How can I "get involved" and help further the cause for a better running America?

phoenixboi08 Jan 9, 2015 1:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 6867981)
The rest of the world isn't always the best example though. What China can build in 3 years for 5 billion dollars we somehow need 10 years and 40 billion dollars. Those are just random numbers I made up, but the point is that in the US the paperwork, regulations and lawyers are so crazy that you end up just pouring money down the drain half the time. Even Europe seems to be able to get stuff done far more easily than we in the US can.

Regulation always gets the lion share, and certainly, the penchant for using regulations to hold projects in litigation limbo is a thing; however, the project is expensive because the timeline is an estimated 40 years at this point...

Along with this notion that the IOS will be completed only to sit unused (it can't, in any case, because Prop 1A demands that anything built must be usable, but I digress), I think people have to be a bit honest with themselves about why it's taking 40 years to build. It feels right and good to chalk it up to incompetence, but when you're trying to finance a multi-billion dollar project through the fare box - and possibly TOD -, you're not going to do as well as you would were you to have a greater commitment from Federal and Private Funds - commitment that will come.

I, for one, do think the timeline will get compressed; 40 years will turn more to 10-15 given the interest we've already seen from various private ventures (JR East, CNR/CSR, etc) and the eventual turnaround in transportation appropriations in Congress; they can't withhold forever.

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 6867981)
On a totally unrelated note: Does anyone know when we will actually see real construction visible? I'm assuming this is just a ceremonial "start"?

They already "started" last summer. It's just been demolition and soil/materials testing. I think they chose this date for the ceremony because it was symbolic for some reason.

I don't know if they've ever hinted at specifics, but they have awarded most of the CPs for the IOS - and have settled most of the lawsuit and finished most of the land-takings they need for at least CP1-2(?).

jg6544 Jan 9, 2015 7:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 202_Cyclist (Post 6867766)
jg6544:


Exactly right. When we took Amtrak from Washington to New York before Christmas, I had two good beers, read for a bit, and took a short nap. You can't do any of thees when driving on I-5.

I lived in DC for upwards of 20 years and, during that time, some of it before the Metroliners, I probably flew a dozen times. The train might not have been faster, but it sure as hell was more comfortable.


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