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  #241  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2010, 8:29 PM
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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.
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  #242  
Old Posted Nov 22, 2010, 10:05 PM
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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.
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  #243  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2010, 2:18 AM
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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
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  #244  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2010, 7:40 AM
DJM19 DJM19 is offline
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Originally Posted by Reminiscence View Post
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.
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  #245  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 4:55 AM
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How much votes is needed to override a veto?
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  #246  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 7:06 AM
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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.
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  #247  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 5:54 PM
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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.
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  #248  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 6:10 PM
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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.
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  #249  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 6:18 PM
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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.
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  #250  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 9:53 PM
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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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  #251  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by ElDuderino View Post
[SIZE="4"]As a stand-alone section, the proposed segment would never be electrified and never actually carry trains....

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.
I didn't know about the stand-alone utility rule--I appreciate the foresight. I fully support immediate construction of this segment.
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  #252  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 10:46 PM
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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.
Really? They won't start building it until Sept 2012?? Cmon, what's taking so long, the funding is there isn't it? They have to start ASAP to ensure that it'll be too late for republicans to scrap the project should the worst happen in 2012.
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  #253  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2010, 11:21 PM
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Really? They won't start building it until Sept 2012?? Cmon, what's taking so long, the funding is there isn't it? They have to start ASAP to ensure that it'll be too late for republicans to scrap the project should the worst happen in 2012.
It's practically 2011 as it is. Given that materials must be procured, land rights managed, etc. 2012 seems about right.
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  #254  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2010, 12:30 AM
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They probably would take longer if they could, but the project has to start by a before a certain point in 2012 to qualify for the stimulus money CAHSR received.
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  #255  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2010, 8:10 AM
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Sometimes I wonder just how smart you have to be to make decisions like this. Maybe it's just me, but building out there in the middle of nowhere seems like a bad move (no offense to any of us that may live out there), pretty much a last resort ditch. Looks like the peninsula wants no part of it for themselves, but wouldn't it be better it LA got the funds instead and at least built it in a place where more people could actually use it? I guess it's important to start this thing in the first place but they could have picked a better place to do so.
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  #256  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2010, 9:33 AM
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The last round of federal funds handed to CAHSR had strings attacked which said all federal funds given so far to the project must be used in the central valley. Pretty much made up CAHSR Authority's mind for them.
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  #257  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2010, 5:32 PM
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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?
You don't know Jerry Lewis very well. Do you?

His sudden and dramatic reversal on earmarks and other federal spending is entirely due to the Republicans taking control of the House of Representatives. Only weeks ago, Jerry Lewis was the Republican at ground-breaking and ribbon-cutting ceremonies for projects all over his district that were funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
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  #258  
Old Posted Nov 26, 2010, 7:55 PM
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I didn't know about the stand-alone utility rule--I appreciate the foresight. I fully support immediate construction of this segment.
hopefully, that rule will be moot with the construction of the rest of the system. i too support construction of this segment for the first phase.
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  #259  
Old Posted Nov 27, 2010, 7:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Reminiscence View Post
Sometimes I wonder just how smart you have to be to make decisions like this. Maybe it's just me, but building out there in the middle of nowhere seems like a bad move (no offense to any of us that may live out there), pretty much a last resort ditch. Looks like the peninsula wants no part of it for themselves, but wouldn't it be better it LA got the funds instead and at least built it in a place where more people could actually use it? I guess it's important to start this thing in the first place but they could have picked a better place to do so.
I lived in the Central Valley for two years from 2007-2009 and trust me, this is the best way to make lemonade out of lemons (in regards to the money and time required to build the high speed rail). South of Sacramento all the way to just north of Bakersfield has suffered much greater losses in this recession than LA or the Bay Area. The housing market is in shambles and unemployment is through the roof. To add insult to injury, the Central Valley also has aging infrastructure that could really use an overhaul.

It just makes sense that if you are going to dump billions of stimulus dollars into the state to build this project that you would do it in the most depressed place. Creating jobs in a region with such high unemployment is very smart.

The rails in the central valley are used very heavily by freight as it is the bread basket of California and of much the United States (The Central Valley actually produces more dairy products than any state in the Midwest). In the worse case scenario where they just appropriate the newly built line in the the transit system (if it were to never be electrified), it would still be a much needed improvement for that area.

Building this rail in the Central Valley will be the chore of the whole CA HSR project. It's a hard sell for any reason but stimulating the economy. So it seems like the best place to start while they can use the stimulus card and cash in on the stimulus money. Once they get the capability to reach high speed from Bakersfield to Merced not only will it be easier to sell High Speed Rail to the rest of the state, but they will also have the least profitable segment safely out of the way.

It's interesting that they are going to veer from the Visalia/ Tulare area (roughly 175,000 people) to Corcoran; I guess I just assumed the line would keep following the 99 down to Bakersfield.
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  #260  
Old Posted Nov 29, 2010, 4:49 PM
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It's interesting that they are going to veer from the Visalia/ Tulare area (roughly 175,000 people) to Corcoran; I guess I just assumed the line would keep following the 99 down to Bakersfield.
It looks like they're trying to follow the San Joaquins route, and that makes sense because of the statement that they'll tie the new track into existing Amtrak service if more funding doesn't come through.
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