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

Busy Bee Feb 12, 2019 7:48 PM

This fucking country is doomed.

Illithid Dude Feb 12, 2019 7:55 PM

Didn't this guy run on finishing the train?

k1052 Feb 12, 2019 7:58 PM

Uh anybody know what the grade profile of 152 through Pacheco looks like if say Caltrain wanted to use it as a ROW to access the stranded Central Valley segment at Madera?

lrt's friend Feb 12, 2019 8:25 PM

Wow! A High Speed train not connecting much of anything.

sopas ej Feb 12, 2019 8:38 PM

Seriously. Bakersfield to Madera. What's the point. I guess if you wanna visit or transfer inmates at a high rate of speed.

ocman Feb 12, 2019 8:42 PM

Good luck Texas, hope you can succeed where California failed.

ocman Feb 12, 2019 8:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8471370)
Seriously. Bakersfield to Madera. What's the point. I guess if you wanna visit or transfer inmates at a high rate of speed.

Quote:

“I know that some critics are going to say, ‘Well, that’s a train to nowhere.’ But I think that’s wrong and I think that’s offensive,” Newsom said. “It’s about economic transformation. It’s about unlocking the enormous potential of the valley.”
Because jobless areas linked with other jobless areas apparently creates jobs. Just rhetoric. He’s building his warchest for his single payer healthcare system.

digitallagasse Feb 12, 2019 8:50 PM

This makes no sense at all. The only section that will be completed will not be viable in any way. You want major transformation these are the types of projects you do. The world thought Japan was crazy when it built its first line of HSR. No one is laughing now and it has been not only successful but transformational as well. For a nation that built the interstate highway system across a large continent we can't even pull off an HSR line in a single state. The rest of the world is leaving us behind.

To everyone that thought this project was a waste of money I ask you this. How much money will it cost to increase capacity of air travel and highways that would bring the same benefit as HSR. That means not only capacity, carbon footprint, ravel time and economic benefit. I will wait...

ocman Feb 12, 2019 8:53 PM

Maybe we can sell the right of way to Elon Musk.

k1052 Feb 12, 2019 8:59 PM

Scott Wiener is saying via his twitter account the press reports of the project being killed are inaccurate.

So :shrug:

BrownTown Feb 12, 2019 9:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 8471254)
Newsom is terminating the project.

Thank God that sanity has finally prevailed. Sad that Billions were already wasted on this boondoggle.

Idiotic to keep spending money on the Central Valley portion though as that will be completely worthless without the ends.

In a perfect world (AKA: not California) we could have used eminent domain to massively reduce costs by not giving into NIMBY demands, but in the regulations hell hole that is California this project was doomed from the start.

kgbnsf Feb 12, 2019 9:09 PM

If this is a no go, then they really need to focus on improving the Amtrak Coast Starlight line in California, at least from SF (Oakland) to LA, to improve times and minimize congestion. It shouldn't have to take 12.5 hours to go that distance on train. New York's Empire Service only takes 7.5 hours for a similar distance. And that includes an hour of padding for delays.

kgbnsf Feb 12, 2019 9:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sopas ej (Post 8471370)
Seriously. Bakersfield to Madera. What's the point.

I am guessing:

1) To save face, so at least there is still a HSR project
2) Keep the funding already received

k1052 Feb 12, 2019 9:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471414)
Idiotic to keep spending money on the Central Valley portion though as that will be completely worthless without the ends.

1) They don't want to pay the feds back

2) This could represent a rebooting of the project that would utilize the segment.

BrownTown Feb 12, 2019 9:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kgbnsf (Post 8471435)
If this is a no go, then they really need to focus on improving the Amtrak Coast Starlight line in California, at least from SF (Oakland) to LA, to improve times and minimize congestion. It shouldn't have to take 12.5 hours to go that distance on train. New York's Empire Service only takes 7.5 hours for a similar distance. And that includes an hour of padding for delays.

But why? There's plenty of plains that fly this route every day.

Use these funds to speed up the LA rail projects that are currently planned out to 2040 and to expand heavy rail in the Bay Area.

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 8471445)
1) They don't want to pay the feds back

2) This could represent a rebooting of the project that would utilize the segment.

Yeah, I understand the reasons, but they're still kind of dumb. I do think this isn't the death of this project by a long shot though. My suspicion is California is tired of going it alone and is hoping a Democrat gets elected President in 2020 and they can use their huge Congressional contingent to try and get federal taxpayers to fund this project instead of paying for it themselves. I'm sure in their heads they'll be finishing up the existing work right as the new infrastructure bill goes though and they can roll right into the extensions to LA and SF.

ocman Feb 12, 2019 9:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471446)
But why? There's plenty of plains that fly this route every day.

Use these funds to speed up the LA rail projects that are currently planned out to 2040 and to expand heavy rail in the Bay Area.

You can’t just take that money and do whatever you want with it. California taxpayers aren’t going to let that money they voted for go to LA’s projects. They didn’t vote to give that money to LA. They voted for HSR. If HSR is cancelled, the funds are cancelled. You can’t divert it elsewhere without breaking the law.

BrownTown Feb 12, 2019 9:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ocman (Post 8471460)
You can’t just take that money and do whatever you want with it. California taxpayers aren’t going to let that money they voted for go to LA’s projects. They didn’t vote to give that money to LA.

They didn't vote for any of the money in question so they don't really have any leg to stand on here.

ocman Feb 12, 2019 9:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471463)
They didn't vote for any of the money in question so they don't really have any leg to stand on here.

They did. When we voted for HSR it was tied with the vote for obligation bonds about $10B for HSR. Another few billion came from the Feds specifically for HSR. None of it we can use for other pet projects.

If you want the state to give billions for LA rail, that’s a completely different issue. Brown wanted to use carbon emission credits to pay for the rest of the system. That can be used for LA rail, but it could also be used for almost anything else. Newsom isn’t going to do that. He’s gearing up for a single payer health care plan that’ll could cost 200B a year.

BrownTown Feb 12, 2019 9:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ocman (Post 8471480)
They did. When we voted for HSR it was tied with the vote for obligation bonds about $10B for HSR. Another few billion came from the Feds specifically for HSR. None of it we can use for other pet projects.

Right, and those $10 Billion are still going to be spent so all is well. It's the other 100+ Billion that would have been needed that can now be used for other things.

Quote:

Originally Posted by ocman (Post 8471480)
If you want the state to give billions for LA rail, that’s a completely different issue. Brown wanted to use carbon emission credits to pay for the rest of the system. That can be used for LA rail, but it could also be used for almost anything else. Newsom isn’t going to do that. He’s gearing up for a single payer health care plan that’ll could cost 200B a year.

Yeah, good luck with that. Unless they put some serious restrictions on that everyone who gets cancer is just going to move to California for free healthcare and the costs will go through the roof.

Car(e)-Free LA Feb 12, 2019 10:19 PM

Further evidence Villaraigosa should have won. Anyways, I'm skeptical the legislature will go along, and if they do, they could at least switch over to Altamont and terminate at 4th&King/Transbay for just a couple billion more (toll I-5 from Tracy-Bakersfield for funding?)

SoCalKid Feb 12, 2019 10:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ocman (Post 8471480)

If you want the state to give billions for LA rail, that’s a completely different issue. Brown wanted to use carbon emission credits to pay for the rest of the system. That can be used for LA rail, but it could also be used for almost anything else. Newsom isn’t going to do that. He’s gearing up for a single payer health care plan that’ll could cost 200B a year.

Cap and trade revenue is restricted to things that reduce carbon emissions. Legally, he cannot redirect it to health care.

BrownTown Feb 12, 2019 10:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Car(e)-Free LA (Post 8471552)
toll I-5 from Tracy-Bakersfield for funding?

It's illegal to toll existing interstates.

Car(e)-Free LA Feb 12, 2019 10:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471578)
It's illegal to toll existing interstates.

Build 20 ft of new interstate along the route, destroy the old bit, and charge $20.

Car(e)-Free LA Feb 12, 2019 10:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ocman (Post 8471480)
He’s gearing up for a single payer health care plan that’ll could cost 200B a year.

Which is stupid.

SoCalKid Feb 12, 2019 10:45 PM

https://cal.streetsblog.org/2019/02/...in-to-nowhere/

Streetsblog is interpreting Newsom's comments differently. Newsom's speech definitely wasn't clear on what he's planning here, it sounds to me like a "wait-and-see" approach for the SF and LA segments. I imagine if democrats won big in 2020 he would lobby for federal funding for at least one of those two legs.

mt_climber13 Feb 12, 2019 11:22 PM

It's not dead kids.

I agree with Newsom that costs need to be brought under control, because right now it's the most expensive bullet train in the world and also the slowest. No point in throwing good money after bad.

SoCalKid Feb 12, 2019 11:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8471646)
It's not dead kids.

I agree with Newsom that costs need to be brought under control, because right now it's the most expensive bullet train in the world and also the slowest. No point in throwing good money after bad.

This claim drives me absolutely insane everytime I hear it. PLEASE explain to me how it is the slowest?? That's just a completely fact-free lie invented by Elon Musk. The top speed would be high compared to standard international HSR, and the average speed would be very normal.

mt_climber13 Feb 12, 2019 11:50 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SoCalKid (Post 8471659)
This claim drives me absolutely insane everytime I hear it. PLEASE explain to me how it is the slowest?? That's just a completely fact-free lie invented by Elon Musk. The top speed would be high compared to standard international HSR, and the average speed would be very normal.

It would be extremely slowed down from San Jose up through the peninsula to SF because of opposition. Like I said, no point throwing good money after bad. Retool and make it better and more cost efficient. The BUILD JUST CUZ!!! crowd will not win you over with everyday California voters.

BrownTown Feb 12, 2019 11:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8471646)
I agree with Newsom that costs need to be brought under control, because right now it's the most expensive bullet train in the world and also the slowest. No point in throwing good money after bad.

Yes, but this can't be accomplished by simple hand waving. California would need to pass laws strengthening eminent domain and limiting frivolous NIMBY lawsuits. I just don't see that happening.

dimondpark Feb 12, 2019 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by k1052 (Post 8471254)

Bravo Governor! It is a boondoggle in it's current form.

mt_climber13 Feb 12, 2019 11:54 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471706)
Yes, but this can't be accomplished by simple hand waving. California would need to pass laws strengthening eminent domain and limiting frivolous NIMBY lawsuits. I just don't see that happening.

Then we should get our house in order and start building and reinventing California's political foundations so that extremely important construction projects like transportation can be built efficiently.

Rather have all the wasted money of HSR go instead into building out local rail grids in urban areas.

k1052 Feb 13, 2019 12:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471446)
Yeah, I understand the reasons, but they're still kind of dumb. I do think this isn't the death of this project by a long shot though. My suspicion is California is tired of going it alone and is hoping a Democrat gets elected President in 2020 and they can use their huge Congressional contingent to try and get federal taxpayers to fund this project instead of paying for it themselves. I'm sure in their heads they'll be finishing up the existing work right as the new infrastructure bill goes though and they can roll right into the extensions to LA and SF.

Alternatively if Trump wants an infra bill before the election the powerful CA delegation is going to have a lot to say about that.

SoCalKid Feb 13, 2019 12:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mt_climber13 (Post 8471701)
It would be extremely slowed down from San Jose up through the peninsula to SF because of opposition. Like I said, no point throwing good money after bad. Retool and make it better and more cost efficient. The BUILD JUST CUZ!!! crowd will not win you over with everyday California voters.

That is one 50 mile stretch out of the ~275 mile SF-LA route. The speed over that entire SF-LA section would be quite fast for a high speed system. Looking exclusively at a portion that represents around ONE SIXTH of the project is such an insane way to judge the project.

If I sprint 5/6th of a race extremely quickly, then jogged the last 1/6th and completed the race fast enough to medal, would you say I was "the slowest in the race" because my last 1/6 mile was slow??

EDIT:

mt_climber, I'm not even saying you're wrong that the money should be re-directed to local rail. It's just that the "slowest train" argument makes my head spin.

jmecklenborg Feb 13, 2019 12:14 AM

Nancy Pelosi is once again speaker of the House. Trump's gone in 2020 if not sooner. With a Democrat back in the White House and a slim R majority in the Senate (or 50-50 or a minority) the money will appear as it did back in 2008.

Unfortunately some studies might need to be redone if they expire, meaning a further delay in commencing construction on sections that are not currently under construction.

BrownTown Feb 13, 2019 12:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SoCalKid (Post 8471720)
That is one 50 mile stretch out of the ~275 mile SF-LA route. The speed over that entire SF-LA section would be quite fast for a high speed system. Looking exclusively at a portion that represents around ONE SIXTH of the project is such an insane way to judge the project.

If I sprint 5/6th of a race extremely quickly, then jogged the last 1/6th and completed the race fast enough to medal, would you say I was "the slowest in the race" because my last 1/6 mile was slow??

Just want to point out that this is a basic math fail. To get the average speed you have to look at the relative times, not the relative distances. So if in your example the jog was half the speed of the sprint then it wouldn't be 1/6th of the race ran slowly, it would be 2/7th. Or to use more easily understandable numbers; if the 5/6th were at 100MPH and then the last 1/6th were at 50MPH the average speed would be 85MPH. That's a pretty significant reduction.

kgbnsf Feb 13, 2019 12:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471446)
But why? There's plenty of plains that fly this route every day.

Use these funds to speed up the LA rail projects that are currently planned out to 2040 and to expand heavy rail in the Bay Area.

Trains are far more superior to air travel for a number of reasons:

1) Train fares are typically less expensive than flying
2) The carbon footprint of trains is 1/2 of that of a jet
3) Far easier and less expensive to expand capacity on rails than airports
4) Trains, for the most part, will get you to the urban cores more than most airports
5) Easier experience for passenger, no airport security, long wait times
6) More reliable schedules than flights
7) Not as prone to weather delays
8) Far more comfortable for the average passenger
9) Serve small communities as well as large metros

About the only thing they are not superior in is time savings. Hence the basis of my original post. Even improving the time travel to say a realistic 7 hours from the Bay Area to LA, you're not going to attract those that want to fly and want to arrive quickly. But, it would start to lure some air travelers, and I5 travelers, which will be a good thing all around. It can reduce the need for road and airport construction. Because currently, very few are going to take a train over driving or flying on this route.

jtown,man Feb 13, 2019 12:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Busy Bee (Post 8471271)
This fucking country is doomed.

Yes. California has hurt the chances of HSR anywhere else because how y’all handled this.

SoCalKid Feb 13, 2019 1:06 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BrownTown (Post 8471782)
Just want to point out that this is a basic math fail. To get the average speed you have to look at the relative times, not the relative distances. So if in your example the jog was half the speed of the sprint then it wouldn't be 1/6th of the race ran slowly, it would be 2/7th. Or to use more easily understandable numbers; if the 5/6th were at 100MPH and then the last 1/6th were at 50MPH the average speed would be 85MPH. That's a pretty significant reduction.

I understand, my 5/6th meant distance. My overarching point was that the AVERAGE speed of the proposed system (your 85MPH in this example) is very much in line with international high speed rail (and far from the "slowest in the world"). This was not a "basic math fail".

mt_climber13 Feb 13, 2019 1:29 AM

Converting the lower deck of the bay bridge to dedicated rail and bus lanes (as it was originally built) and also semis (to reduce the congestion of the upper vehicle deck)
Upper vehicle deck could have a zipper median like on the GG bridge to adjust with traffic flows.

run HSR from San Jose to Oakland and then from Oakland to SF via Bay Bridge at full speed. Oakland and east bay are much more populous. Peninsula residents and take a CalTrain from San Jose up to Palo Alto. No HSR for you!

It could then detour from Oakland east to Sacramento [and potentially further east to Tahoe/ Reno and north from Sacramento along the I-5 up to Portland and Seattle]

connect the LA/ OC southern terminus to San Diego and Las Vegas

ITB495 Feb 13, 2019 3:21 AM

If this high speed rail project doesn't connect to either San Francisco or Los Angeles and becomes a train to nowhere, it will epitomize the remarkable decline of the United States. And, really, nothing short of that.

Many other countries around the globe, even some deemed "developing," are building or expanding high speed rail systems. And, we, the United States of America, supposedly the grandest, wealthiest and most powerful of all, can't manage to build a single, new high speed rail line. Frankly, I'm appalled and disgusted. The whole world is watching.

Sun Belt Feb 13, 2019 4:00 AM

Newsome: spoke the truth today. It's a ridiculously expensive boondoggle that nobody would ever pay for to use.

Spend that money within our cities!

jtown,man Feb 13, 2019 4:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ITB495 (Post 8471937)
If this high speed rail project doesn't connect to either San Francisco or Los Angeles and becomes a train to nowhere, it will epitomize the remarkable decline of the United States. And, really, nothing short of that.

Many other countries around the globe, even some deemed "developing," are building or expanding high speed rail systems. And, we, the United States of America, supposedly the grandest, wealthiest and most powerful of all, can't manage to build a single, new high speed rail line. Frankly, I'm appalled and disgusted. The whole world is watching.

Wait, how does a California problem represent the entire United States? The government of Alabama had nothing to do with the issues California was having with this thing.

ITB495 Feb 13, 2019 4:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8471989)
Newsome: spoke the truth today. It's a ridiculously expensive boondoggle that nobody would ever pay for to use.

Sadly, almost every new public-financed project infrastructure in the United States, aside from roads and bridges, is nowadays deemed a boondoogle. Boston's Big Dig, for example. It's a simple-minded mindset that neglects to look forward 50 years or more. In 2069, California won't be the same state it is today.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sun Belt (Post 8471989)
Spend that money within our cities!

May I ask how so?

ITB495 Feb 13, 2019 4:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jtown,man (Post 8472008)
Wait, how does a California problem represent the entire United States? The government of Alabama had nothing to do with the issues California was having with this thing.

Because California high speed was supposed to be the forerunner of a high speed rail system in the United States. And let's not forget the billions forked over by the federal government to build it.

jtown,man Feb 13, 2019 4:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ITB495 (Post 8472022)
Because California high speed was supposed to be the forerunner of a high speed rail system in the United States. And let's not forget the billions forked over by the federal government to build it.

True. But I think it just shows the negatives of California though. It does hurt HSR across the nation now(which I predicted, btw), as politicians can always point to this and say SEE! But at the end of the day, other places may do this and do it right, regardless of what California did.

SLO Feb 13, 2019 5:26 AM

Seems like the only way this thing worked was big cities first. LA-SD, LA to Vegas, SF-Sacramento, LA-SF. I have a feeling LA-Vegas would be profitable

Will O' Wisp Feb 13, 2019 6:39 AM

I'm honestly not surprised by this at all. Back in 2008 California voters agreed to put down $10 billion dollars of a $70+ billion dollar HSR system, then expected the rest to just show up. No public works project since the interstate highway system has gotten that level of matching funds. But if you'd flat out told voters that they'd need to pay for most or all of the full price tag Prop 1A wouldn't have passed

This doesn't really prove much, other than perhaps that voters love to support infrastructure/services but hate it when you raise taxes to fund them. American voters in particular have a tenancy to do this. Hardly a revelation, any politician could've told you that in 1808 much less 2008. The only real difference between California and the more conservative states is that Californians keep taxes the same while expecting services to get better, and conservative states cut taxes while expecting services not to get worse.

Newsom's less than full throated support of the project is just him reading the political winds. There isn't the political will to write CAHSR a blank check. But the final word hasn't been spoken on this, support for HSR is extremely high in the bay area and politicians are extremely adverse to looking like they can't follow through on things. Phase II extensions to Sacramento and San Diego are pretty well of the table at this point, but a connection to SF isn't out of the question yet.

Shame about how this will throw a blanket on HSR projects in the rest of the US, even though CAHSR's issues have nothing to do with the technology itself. But lets be honest, HSR wasn't really going anywhere fast in the US beforehand so this is just a return to the norm.

Oh, and since people keep bringing up Texas HSR know that although it avoids some of CAHSR's problems the ones it does face are just as big. Funding is in a lot of ways even more tenuous than CAHSR's, major infrastructure projects have usually lost money historically and investors know this. That's why they're almost always funded by governments, even if this process is less efficient, since governments generally have no expectations of profit. And freedom loving Texas is going to have to wrestle with the concept of giving a private company eminent domain rights, and if forcing property owners to surrender their homes in the name of economic development is really any different if it's to a faceless corporation instead of a faceless government agency.

jmecklenborg Feb 13, 2019 6:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ITB495 (Post 8471937)
If this high speed rail project doesn't connect to either San Francisco or Los Angeles and becomes a train to nowhere, it will epitomize the remarkable decline of the United States. And, really, nothing short of that.

This is likely just a political stunt to scuttle the Pacheco Pass/San Jose route and re-study and fund an approach to San Francisco via the Altamont Pass.

As I observed and posted here many moons ago, the "problem" with the Pacheco Pass route was that San Jose was going to enjoy much better service than San Francisco. 12 trains per hour per direction in San Jose as compared to just 4 for San Francisco.

I'd look for an alternative to the Dumbarton Bridge alignment and instead something that follows 580 and reaches the Transbay Terminal under the bay from the east.

An approach to the terminal from the opposite direction would enable the following:

1. Piggy-back second BART bay crossing with HSR
2. Keep Caltrain out of Transbay, meaning HSR gets all six platforms
3. Room for tail tracks where the tunnel south to 4th & King is planned
4. Alternatively, build said tunnel and operate Transbay as a thru-station, with HSR trains turned on non-revenue track at what is now 4th & King + Caltrains terminates somewhere in the East Bay

ardecila Feb 13, 2019 7:15 AM

I never got the criticism for Pacheco. Why should San Jose and the majority of Silicon Valley not enjoy access to the HSR system as California's biggest economic engine? The VTA light rail system is surprisingly extensive and BART is coming, so HSR in San Jose would have fairly strong local transit feeding it.

I get how Altamont might be easier to construct with more gentle terrain, but if SJ (and assorted Silicon Valley suburbs) were not part of the Bay Area and stood on their own there would be no excuse for bypassing it.

The real issue for me at least was the weird detour to Palmdale, an obvious 35-mile detour kludge to serve a small city at the expense of the state's city dwellers. A Palmdale detour was only somewhat justifiable because it sets the stage for a Las Vegas connection, but I'd rather see that happen at Cajon Pass.

chrisvfr800i Feb 13, 2019 1:42 PM

I hereby suggest moving this discussion to "Far Fetched Civil Projects."


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