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  #2221  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 1:39 AM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Also, after having actually read the audit (not the LA Times' distorted summary), it can be surmised that CAHSR "delayed" studying blended service in LA and also between SJ and Gilroy because of issues with the respective commuter rail agencies. It's really not that complicated, but if you intentionally fail to pursue an answer to that question, then you can do some Fox News sensationalism.

Also, the audit does not acknowledge that the capacity of the system on the blended service between SF and SJ is not limited by the blending but rather by the capacity of the Transbay Transit Center, which is now an actual and physical fact. The center is a 6-track facility with 2 tracks dedicated to Caltrains and 4 to HSR. Each HSR train takes 15 minutes to turn.

So to repeat for the Republicans: the blended service only limits capacity IF a second Transbay tube is built and IF that tube is 4-track and establishes a new HSR terminus somewhere in the East Bay.

So the Republicans concern troll here -- they complain about the very existence of HSR, but then complain when it is prudently built to reflect the short and mid-term limited capacity of the Transbay Terminal.

Again, this is what bullies do, and this project's critics are all bullies. They claim to care so dearly about the expenditure of public dollars, but never call for an audit of individual military bases, let alone the entire Pentagon, which wastes far more each year than CAHSR could hope to waste in 100 years.
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  #2222  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 2:09 AM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by BrownTown View Post
You say that like we're just shooting from the hip here instead of looking at years of MASSIVE cost overruns, quality reductions and delays.

Be specific in your criticism. Like, totally and completely specific. Per the audit, overruns in the central valley were caused by building too quickly in order to make the timeline prescribed by the federal grants. As I have already explained, the overruns were mostly covered by the $900 million windfall from Florida and Ohio.

What are the quality reductions? As I have already explained repeatedly, the blended service near SF does not reduce capacity because the hourly capacity of the terminal station is fixed. The overall speed of the system is hardly affected by the blended sections. Per the audit, an estimated $8 billion was saved by the blended service in NoCal and $1 billion in LA. Plus, Caltrains and Metrorail are getting huge upgrades.

Delays? Again, the audit criticized the board for moving ahead too quickly in the Central Valley.
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  #2223  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 3:02 AM
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C’mon people, this argument has been hashed out many, many times already. I don’t think we need to do it again. We’ve heard the same arguments. This thread is getting cluttered with a bunch of opinions.

If you don’t like this project, cool. Don’t visit this page then.
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  #2224  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 1:29 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
The main issue is that the HSR board overspent on some central valley contracts because of the time limit imposed by the 2010 and 2011 federal grants. That is not "California" money that has been wasted, but rather federal funds. So it's unclear as to why the haters are so upset.

As mentioned in the audit, in 2011 CAHSR received $900 million above the $2.5 billion federal stimulus it received in 2010. Why? Because Tea Partiers Rick Scott and John Kasich rejected the federal rail grants their states had received under their respective Democrat predecessors. So CAHSR's overruns in the Central Valley were largely covered by that $900 million windfall.

Again, "California" money has not been wasted, and the "waste" would not have happened at all if not for the 2010 stimulus award.
That's a terrible argument to make to the US Congress when you desire they allocate more federal funding for CHSR. Why should they allocate more money to any agency that admits wasting previous funding, and not doing anything to correct it. After all, isn't that the purpose of any audit?

Nobody forced CHSR to accept that additional $900 million Ohio and Florida refused. Having accepted that additional money, CHSR has the same responsibility to spend it as wisely as with what they spent before. They don't get a free pass to waste it away.
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  #2225  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 5:49 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by electricron View Post
That's a terrible argument to make to the US Congress when you desire they allocate more federal funding for CHSR. Why should they allocate more money to any agency that admits wasting previous funding, and not doing anything to correct it. After all, isn't that the purpose of any audit?

Nobody forced CHSR to accept that additional $900 million Ohio and Florida refused. Having accepted that additional money, CHSR has the same responsibility to spend it as wisely as with what they spent before. They don't get a free pass to waste it away.

The "wasted" money was primarily paying more for land in the Central Valley than was originally budgeted *because* the federal stimulus grant had a rigid completion date, like the rest of the "shovel-ready" projects that received stimulus funding around the country. Eventually the Feds modified California's 2010 grant and extended the completion to Dec 31, 2022, but by then the damage had been done so far as land acquisition and the awarding of some of the contracts.

And, as I have already stated, the plan for blended service between Gilroy and SF and between Burbank and LA Union is saving $10~ billion. The same people who scold the board for going over-budget in the Central Valley are scolding the agency for saving money in the cities.

Critics always shift the goal posts. They always "win" in their own minds because a big infrastructure project is a rigid object and they can reshape their own arguments, demands, feigned outrage, alternate suggestions, to whatever issue they decide to whine about at the moment.
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  #2226  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 6:29 PM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
Critics always shift the goal posts. They always "win" in their own minds because a big infrastructure project is a rigid object and they can reshape their own arguments, demands, feigned outrage, alternate suggestions, to whatever issue they decide to whine about at the moment.
You're joking right? The original goal posts were 30 Billion cost, 220MPH and 2020 completion date. Now we're at 100+ Billion cost, well under 220MPH and 2030 completion date and CAHSR can't even make those numbers. Who exactly is moving the goalposts here?
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  #2227  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 7:33 PM
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And a massive highway investment program would have had the same inaccurate cost projections. You seem to think that final engineering would need to occur on all large infrastructure projects before bond financing could commence. And often program referendums are in fact estimates. Estimates aren't worth the paper they're printed on since you don't typically know all the contributing factors until you're in the middle of it. Ever done a house remodel?
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  #2228  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 8:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Busy Bee View Post
And a massive highway investment program would have had the same inaccurate cost projections. You seem to think that final engineering would need to occur on all large infrastructure projects before bond financing could commence. And often program referendums are in fact estimates. Estimates aren't worth the paper they're printed on since you don't typically know all the contributing factors until you're in the middle of it.
It's obviously common for large projects to have cost overruns and schedule delays, but this is an extreme case. Stop trying to make this a political thing because it's not. This has nothing to do with roads vs rail and everything to do with cost effectiveness.

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Ever done a house remodel?
No, I haven't. But you can bet your ass if it went 3x over cost, took twice as long as anticipated and I didn't get what was promised then I wouldn't be talking about how great the general contractor was.
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  #2229  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 8:46 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by BrownTown View Post
You're joking right? The original goal posts were 30 Billion cost, 220MPH and 2020 completion date. Now we're at 100+ Billion cost, well under 220MPH and 2030 completion date and CAHSR can't even make those numbers. Who exactly is moving the goalposts here?

1. The original estimates were for the I-5 route, Altamont, etc.
2. The railroad currently under construction is a 220mph railroad. Even with the blended service it will still fulfil the language of Prop 1A, requiring a 2:45 transit time between SF and LA.
3. Prop 1A did not require a 2020 completion date. You made that up.


Crossrail is well behind schedule and well over budget. It's going to serve Londoners for hundreds of years. CAHSR is going to serve California for hundreds of years. A 10-year delay and some overruns don't matter in the big picture.
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  #2230  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 9:27 PM
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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
3. Prop 1A did not require a 2020 completion date. You made that up.
I went back to the articles from 2008 and that's what they were promising. It's not in the text of the proposition, but it's what people were promised.[/QUOTE]

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Originally Posted by jmecklenborg View Post
A 10-year delay and some overruns don't matter in the big picture.
What world do you live in that 70 Billion dollars is, "some overruns". And really the actual construction is like 2% done so who knows how much more the overruns will be. I feel like the far worse scenario is that we get say 50 Billion dollars into the project and then people start to realize there's no way it will ever actually get finished and it ends up getting canceled with all that money completely wasted. This is what I see as the most likely scenario. Instead of getting greatly expanded subway systems in LA and San Fran we will likely end up with a slightly sped up Amtrak service in the Central Valley with the tunnels into the cities left unbuilt.
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  #2231  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 10:37 PM
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No need to wax poetic, so I'll will just say you are wrong sir.

As for the "it's not going to be 220mph" indignation that gets spouted all the time... I can never understand why people are so confused by that. It was never the plan to operate at 220 mph continuously from SF to LA. There where always going to be sections of slower operating speed including non-stops through stations and on the peninsula and basin approaches. What they meant by a 220mph system is that is the top cruising speed for the many long sections between stations --- you know, just like how every other high speed railway in the world works.
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  #2232  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2018, 11:28 PM
jmecklenborg jmecklenborg is offline
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Originally Posted by BrownTown View Post
I went back to the articles from 2008 and that's what they were promising. It's not in the text of the proposition, but it's what people were promised.
That's now how ballot issues or any sort of contract work. That's why the various lawsuits flung at HSR have not succeeded in derailing the project.

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What world do you live in that 70 Billion dollars is, "some overruns". And really the actual construction is like 2% done so who knows how much more the overruns will be.
An expansion of the scope of a project is not an "overrun". Inflation of the cost of concrete or steel or labor is not an "overrun". Compromising construction to enable benefits to other public services (i.e. blended service, 30 miles of mainline track to Palmdale in order to enable future Las Vegas connection) is not an "overrun". Budgeting $5 billion for surface routing between Palmdale and Burbank but being forced to build a $20 billion tunnel in order to avoid spooking rich people's horses is not an "overrun".




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Originally Posted by BrownTown View Post

I feel like the far worse scenario is that we get say 50 Billion dollars into the project and then people start to realize there's no way it will ever actually get finished and it ends up getting canceled with all that money completely wasted. This is what I see as the most likely scenario. Instead of getting greatly expanded subway systems in LA and San Fran we will likely end up with a slightly sped up Amtrak service in the Central Valley with the tunnels into the cities left unbuilt.

The goal posts shift, of course. If CAHSR was improving rapid transit networks, you'd complain that commuter rail should be improved instead. If we were facing the profound cost of a 20+ mile HSR-only tunnel into San Francisco, you'd complain that they should have integrated Caltrains.

In fact, we have already seen people complain that LA's commuter rail should be electrified concurrent with HSR, and that commuter rail should be able to use the $20+ billion series of tunnels to Palmdale.
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  #2233  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 7:44 PM
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Originally Posted by northbay View Post
C’mon people, this argument has been hashed out many, many times already. I don’t think we need to do it again. We’ve heard the same arguments. This thread is getting cluttered with a bunch of opinions.

If you don’t like this project, cool. Don’t visit this page then.
You want a dead thread? That's what you get when you have an echo chamber of your preferred narrative. This forum is for the free expression of opinion based on the thread's topic. This forum is not meant to silence opposition, but to open discussions with them. This thread is getting cluttered with a bunch of opinions? GOOD. That's what keeps the community alive, you... you... ...

I love this project, but I LOVE to read the opposition's opinions, and the facts they bring I would otherwise would have been ignorant on.

Good grief, learn to accept the difference of opinion, or you will end up crying for everything that doesn't fit your self-centered narrative.
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  #2234  
Old Posted Nov 23, 2018, 10:29 PM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Originally Posted by patriotizzy View Post
You want a dead thread? That's what you get when you have an echo chamber of your preferred narrative. This forum is for the free expression of opinion based on the thread's topic. This forum is not meant to silence opposition, but to open discussions with them. This thread is getting cluttered with a bunch of opinions? GOOD. That's what keeps the community alive, you... you... ...

I love this project, but I LOVE to read the opposition's opinions, and the facts they bring I would otherwise would have been ignorant on.

Good grief, learn to accept the difference of opinion, or you will end up crying for everything that doesn't fit your self-centered narrative.
The irony here is that this IS pretty much an echo chamber. Everyone here at least WANTS to see CAHSR succeed. The only differences of opinion are whether or not that is likely to happen. Personally it's blowing my mind anyone is defending this projects record so far. It sort of reminds me of the pro-nuclear people on some sites. Both my parents are nuclear engineers, I grew up loving nuclear power plants, my first job out of college was working at the only nuclear plant under construction at the time. You will not find many people who are more pro-nuclear than am I. And yet I can still admit that nuclear power is too expensive to make sense at this time. CAHSR advocates need to be able to make this same admission to themselves about this project. No matter how much we all want it to succeed the facts are looking awful. I don't blame HSR as a technology; I blame general US incompetence in all infrastructure construction, overzealous regulations and legal battles and pandering to NIMBYs. There was a post earlier in this thread were someone said it wasn't CAHSR's fault that they were spending an extra $15 Billion to pander to NIMBYs. But that's EXACTLY what is the fault here. If people actually want to see this sort of project done they need to have the political will to use eminent domain and to build right through the NIMBYs backyard. So long as we're not willing to do that these sort of projects will not be likely to succeed.
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  #2235  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2018, 7:25 PM
Will O' Wisp Will O' Wisp is offline
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Originally Posted by BrownTown View Post
The irony here is that this IS pretty much an echo chamber. Everyone here at least WANTS to see CAHSR succeed. The only differences of opinion are whether or not that is likely to happen. Personally it's blowing my mind anyone is defending this projects record so far. It sort of reminds me of the pro-nuclear people on some sites. Both my parents are nuclear engineers, I grew up loving nuclear power plants, my first job out of college was working at the only nuclear plant under construction at the time. You will not find many people who are more pro-nuclear than am I. And yet I can still admit that nuclear power is too expensive to make sense at this time. CAHSR advocates need to be able to make this same admission to themselves about this project. No matter how much we all want it to succeed the facts are looking awful. I don't blame HSR as a technology; I blame general US incompetence in all infrastructure construction, overzealous regulations and legal battles and pandering to NIMBYs. There was a post earlier in this thread were someone said it wasn't CAHSR's fault that they were spending an extra $15 Billion to pander to NIMBYs. But that's EXACTLY what is the fault here. If people actually want to see this sort of project done they need to have the political will to use eminent domain and to build right through the NIMBYs backyard. So long as we're not willing to do that these sort of projects will not be likely to succeed.
Even after the lengthy delays and ballooning costs a majority of Californians still support CAHSR (Source), a pretty sure sign of political will. Caltrans hasn't exactly shied away from eminent domain either, there are over 100 pending cases right now in the central valley alone. But the amount of time it takes to work through each one means it's often more cost efficient to buy up the land at an inflated price. The judge they've assigned even this level of cases (since all the local judges have recused themselves) has joked it's a lifetime appointment. (Source).

There's a lot of arguments to be made for why right now is best time (and perhaps only time) for this project to be built. Unlike a nuclear reactor we don't really have a lot of leeway in where we can build this, and the value of that land is only going up over time. As expensive as this is, acquiring the HSR ROW will only cost more in the future. CA has the largest budget surplus in its history, now is exactly the sort of time to be making major infrastructure investments. If right now we have the money, and if right now it's the cheapest it'll probably be going into the future, and if right now we have the political will to accomplish it (and might not later), then despite all the issues it's looking like right now is the best chance we'll ever see to get HSR in CA.

Maybe that logic can explain to you why all of CAHSR supporters are still defending the flag, and why the state is still pushing this through despite all the problems. There isn't a particularly better way we could be going about doing this, at least not under our current legal system. So it's either this or no HSR at all, and without HSR then the question becomes how this state is going to satisfy its growing transportation needs.
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  #2236  
Old Posted Nov 24, 2018, 10:35 PM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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We just have a very different view of, "political will". Polls are nice, but in this hyperpartisan environment they're more a reflection of California's political lean than an objective appraisal of this project. I agree CAHSR is doing the best they can given the hurdles, but actuall political will would be the legislature knocking those hurdles down by making it so people can't continue on with all these insane lawsuits that are costing tens of billions of dollars in delays are scope changes.
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  #2237  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2018, 1:49 AM
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I come to this thread to see/read updates on the CA HSR project. People are free to debate, and I welcome different opinions, but as I said, it’s the same debate over and over. After years, it has just gotten tiresome for me. I haven’t heard anything new.

Actual updates on the project get drowned in a sea of opinions. It’s like how the One World Trade Center Thread got full of everyone’s opinion. “They should rebuild the 2 towers” or “They should build the original Libeskind design.” How many times did we hear the same thing?

So that’s just MY OPINION (ah, the irony). I respect other opinions, I’m just tired of hearing them over and over in order to get updates, which is why I liked the 2 thread format.

I am sorry if I offended anyone. I have no intention of hijacking this thread further so please pm if anyone has any issue. And I’ll get my information elsewhere.
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  #2238  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2018, 2:14 AM
BrownTown BrownTown is offline
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Originally Posted by northbay View Post
I come to this thread to see/read updates on the CA HSR project. People are free to debate, and I welcome different opinions, but as I said, it’s the same debate over and over. After years, it has just gotten tiresome for me. I haven’t heard anything new.
Because there AREN'T any updates of note. A few bridges built and roads relocated. I went to Seattle a year ago and just looking in Google Maps I can see 10x as much visible progress on Northgate Link and East Link as on CAHSR despite the later being a far larger project. Crossrail was approved 1 year before CAHSR and is almost done. Construction is visible all over London. I kept running up on Crossrail construction sites without even seeking them out. Crossrail is just as complex as CAHAR (if not more complex) and in a very dense city. There's no good justification for CAHSR being so vastly less successful.
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  #2239  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2018, 3:11 AM
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Originally Posted by northbay View Post
C’mon people, this argument has been hashed out many, many times already. I don’t think we need to do it again. We’ve heard the same arguments. This thread is getting cluttered with a bunch of opinions.

If you don’t like this project, cool. Don’t visit this page then.
Talking about the budget of CAHSR is not allowed? Talking about budget overruns and concerns for the Southern California half from articles in the L.A. Times is off topic?
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  #2240  
Old Posted Nov 25, 2018, 3:17 AM
Will O' Wisp Will O' Wisp is offline
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Because there AREN'T any updates of note. A few bridges built and roads relocated. I went to Seattle a year ago and just looking in Google Maps I can see 10x as much visible progress on Northgate Link and East Link as on CAHSR despite the later being a far larger project. Crossrail was approved 1 year before CAHSR and is almost done. Construction is visible all over London. I kept running up on Crossrail construction sites without even seeking them out. Crossrail is just as complex as CAHAR (if not more complex) and in a very dense city. There's no good justification for CAHSR being so vastly less successful.
Worth noting that Northgate Link and East Link combined have a length 21 miles. Crossrail (which will only have its central section open next year, the full project will take till 2026) has a length of 73 miles. Section 1 of CAHSR, just the LA to SF route, has a total length of 520 miles. Construction packages 1-4, aka the stuff they're building right now, have a combined length of 114 miles and are currently set to be finished by 2019ish. This is an absolutely massive project by any standard, even if you're living in CA you're unlikely to stumble across a construction site unless you live in the central valley (and for those that do, it's certainty very noticeable judging from all the complaints). Perhaps it doesn't have the gee wiz factor of crossrail, but stuff is certainly getting built.

Unless we're going to return to 1960s development practices ("Hi there, me and my crew are here to knock down your house for that new freeway! What do you mean you didn't hear about it, we posted a notice on the city hall posterboard. Gawd, you people utterly lack civic engagement") this is pretty much the way it's going to be. The US has some fairly strong property rights by global standards, and CA has decided that citizens should have a voice over projects in their local area. Combine that with a government and a set of contractors largely unfamiliar with this first in the nation technology, sky high labor rates, and the necessity of building through a region filled with landowners who will virulently oppose this project just on general principle, and you've got a recipe for some pretty nasty roadbumps.

Last edited by Will O' Wisp; Nov 25, 2018 at 3:49 AM.
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