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  #1  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2007, 9:22 PM
slock slock is offline
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Red face California High-Speed Rail

I wanted to start a new thread about this topic of great importance to the state.

HSR will revolutionize California, turning it into a much more sustainable and urban place. All four major metropolitan regions will undergo significant urbanization with downtown stations spurring remarkable growth and development.

As an example, Midtown Manhattan rose where it is, seperate from the existing and established Downtown, simply because of Grand Central Station. First came offices, then residences, then hotels, and so on. That is what downtown Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Sacramento will experience, that kind of transformation.

The highways simply cannot continue to be widened, both because of politics, and the fact that years later they become just as congested as their slimmer selves. And airports face more challenges in terms of expansion and practicality of placement. With growth and population soaring, and almost doubling by 2050, along with the lucrative reality of California facing Asia, the state could enter its most profound and significant era. But if the status quo is not changed, the highways will clog, productivity will decrease, open land will be consumed, and air traffic will be even more problematic. Essentially, California needs this simply to survive.

At this point however, the Governor is trying to kill it. Millions have already been spent, and advanced stages are underway, to the point that the the Authority is even awarding contracts. There is stipulation in the intial Bond measure that almost $1B be earmarked for feeder systems, and the Authority has been working with Bay Area, Orange County, and Los Angeles rail operators to formulate plans to tie future system expansion together.

Like I said California, needs this, it will change the face of the state making it more transit focused, densely developed, and urban, the very qualities we spend hours on this forum discussing and debating. Take the time to educate yourself on the INCREDIBLE benefits this would provide the state, and contact both the Governor's office and your City, County, and State Representatives. The Governor wants to keep widening freeways, but we've done that for fifty years, and we're still sitting in traffic. We need new solutions, and California High Speed Rail is it.

Here's the authority's website to get a good overview on the positives:

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/

And here's a link to an article in the Fresno Bee about the Governor's view. I don't know how you can be an evironmentalist and endorse legislation requiring a reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions and be against non-polluting HSR:

http://www.fresnobee.com/263/story/26812.html
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  #2  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2007, 10:24 PM
DJM19 DJM19 is offline
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Its sad to see that Arnold is so gung-ho about this freeway expansion thing and thinks almost nothing of HSR.
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  #3  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2007, 10:41 PM
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It's also important to note that the vote was shelved two years ago by a squabble with democratic legislators from San Jose, arguing where the Bay Area rail lines would link up with the Central Valley stretch. It still has yet to be resolved, which is why that portion is not mapped out.

That aside, the governor essentially kills the project for the near future in his latest budget act....
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  #4  
Old Posted Jan 29, 2007, 11:57 PM
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How does the Governor, or anyone else who thinks we should expand our freeways, even have a leg to stand on here? I thought it had been pretty conclusively established that widening freeways doesn't reduce congestion. Is anyone actually presenting a good case for doing this instead of funding HSR, or is it just happening as a result of lobbying (or piggybacking this on top of "repairing" existing freeways, which is easier to make a case for?)
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  #5  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 12:30 AM
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I think it's more that not enough people are responding. He's got such a soap box and the legislators aren't reacting. A majority of people in the state want this, a majority know the good it will do, but their representatives aren't fighting the governor. That's why I was advocating contacting representatives, to let more people constituents voice their opinion. And I don't know why it's not getting more press.
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  #6  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 12:59 AM
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I think everyone on this forum thinks that CAHSR is a fantastic idea both for the state's current and future needs. But there just doesn't seem to be anyone that cares enough to raise enough fuss about it. And the automobile and airline lobbying will have a good chance of killing it off, if it ever even makes it to the ballot (as has happened in other states). It is sad to see, but I think we haven't learned anything from our experiment with the highway. It seems like we'd rather build a 10 lane highway to serve 20,000 people, rather than a subway line in a city (LA, SF) to serve 100,000 (yes I know subways are more expensive on a per mile basis, I'm just trying to make a point). I'm not sure our governor has ever taken public transit in his American life. I doubt he sees a need for any statewide system. Hopefully some of our elected Congressman see it differently, and push to get this on the ballot (instead of building more f'ing dams on our rivers - how about putting some desalination plants on those pretty So Cal beaches? Que horror, you say? But i digress).
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  #7  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 1:03 AM
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This was posted on the Sac Bee website, but is the same story as posted in the Fresno Bee link..

Bullet-train idea faltering
By E.J. Schultz - Bee Capitol Bureau
Last Updated 4:57 pm PST Monday, January 29, 2007


The state's perpetually delayed high-speed rail project faces yet another funding setback. And this one could be fatal, dashing the dreams of bullet-train enthusiasts, including many in California's Central Valley.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposes slashing funding for the High Speed Rail Authority from $14 million to $1.2 million, leaving the group with enough just to keep its doors open.

"There's really no public purpose for me and my staff to be in office unless you want to move forward with the project," said Mehdi Morshed, the authority's executive director, who wants the governor and lawmakers to approve $103 million for the project next year. "If you don't want to move forward with the project, then close it down and save yourself some money."

With his focus on road building, the governor also wants the Legislature to indefinitely delay a $9.95 billion rail bond slated for the 2008 ballot. That would clear the way for $29 billion in bonds the governor wants to put on the ballot to pay for courthouses, schools and dams - the second phase of his "strategic growth plan" that will spend billions on roads but nothing on high-speed rail.

"In our plan that we put together, it didn't fit in," Schwarzenegger said in an interview last week. "It doesn't mean that it is not going to fit in in the future."

The electric-powered railroad would be similar to the bullet trains prevalent in Europe and other parts of the world.
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  #8  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 1:23 AM
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It's more than just Govenor...the bond proposal has to be voted on by the people...and the argument of why am I going to add to the state's billion dollar debt for a project the majority of the state's population is not going to use is a convincing argument to vote against it. The recent bond packages combined with the future ones planned by the Governor make this bond package a busy field, and at some point, the population is just going to vote against bonds out of concern for the state's fiscal outlook.

The worst outcome is to rush a vote only to have it voted down by the people...that would kill the project for the near future....I'd rather wait now and then have a successful vote.....
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  #9  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 1:24 AM
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It's also important to note that the vote was shelved two years ago by a squabble with democratic legislators from San Jose

Not quite. In 2003 we were in the depths of the recession--that's why it was delayed from 2004. The alignment issue hasn't had any impact on timing and as far as I know has drawn little attention from legislators. Now, when the Authority finally approves Altamont--then you'll see South Bay pols squabbling.

My position on CAHSR is that it really is inevitable--as on global warming, the U.S. may lag the rest of the world, but eventually we'll catch up--and the longer we delay, the more we're going to have to pay. I'd say that Arnold was being penny-wise but pound-foolish, except the highway bonds proved he's not even the former.
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  #10  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 1:29 AM
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The recession had a bit to do with it, but I know firsthand that it was a particular SJ legislator that killed it for that election cycle....mainly because they were upset on where the track was planned and the environmental impact.
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  #11  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 1:30 AM
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Who?

In 2003 the Authority was still standing by the southern alignment.
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  #12  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 1:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by munkyman View Post
I think everyone on this forum thinks that CAHSR is a fantastic idea both for the state's current and future needs. But there just doesn't seem to be anyone that cares enough to raise enough fuss about it. And the automobile and airline lobbying will have a good chance of killing it off
Whatever happens, I am as certain as I have ever been about anything that HSR will happen in California some day. What will make it happen if it doesn't happen sooner, is gridlock at the airports. When we can simply cram no more flights into SFO and OAK and the San Jose airport and the lines and crowds require hours to navigate, I think the business community will get behind HSR and it will happen. I thought we were approaching this point in 2000 and then 9/11 happened and the dot-com bubble brist and air traffic slowed down. It's coming back now, but I don't think the airports yet have the level of congestion they had in 2000 (or so I read--I don't personally fly much)
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  #13  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 1:37 AM
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I agree that the State's population will get bond-weary. And they should, what do we have the second lowest credit rating?

But that's why it's important not to delay it any longer. It's already been delayed twice, materials and labor costs will only increase, and it is now law to reduce greenhouse gas emmissions. BART cost $1.6B to build in the 1960s and would cost over $14B to build today. Without BART the Bay Area would come to a standstill. It's the same story on a much larger scale.

The significant and oft forgotten element is how this will return money. Studies have shown that this will return $3 for every $1 invested, something extra lanes on a freeway could never do.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 3:24 AM
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I was thinking the same thing about the California High Speed Rail deserving its own thread and discussion. Glad someone went ahead and started it and I predict it will generate a lot of discussion!

Here are some things not mentioned above:

1. Although the Govenors budget provides only sparse funding for CHSRA staff to further their work, staff is reasonably confident that they get additional funding as the budget moves forward. I believe the same thing happened last year,... or year before. I also believe another argument is that the CHSRA needs to move forward or risk the current environmental work done to date going out-of-date and would cost years and additional funding to re-visit that work. That's enough motivation for state legislators to augment currenlty proposed funding levels.

2. CHSRA staff still has funds to move forward with hiring consultants to pursue preliminary engineering and environmental work right now. As an example today's CHSRA board meeting was to consider hiring consultants to do such for 3 different segments:
- Sacramento to Fresno
- Fresno to Los Angeles; and
- Los Angeles to san Diego

Here's the link to today's (1/29/07) CHSRA agenda: http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/me...ary_agenda.pdf

I have no idea what happened today at that meeting.

The above may not appear to jive with the planned strategy for bonding, but they don't necessarily need to. Of course, before the San Juoquin Valley to SF engineering work begins... an alignment needs to be selected. I am unsure why LA to Anaheim or Irvine has not moved forward.

3. The CHSRA staff has the authority to buy right-of-way right now. Admittedly, they need the funds. I am unsure how much is available from the $100m budgeted prior to the proposed FY08 budget is available. Nevertheless, staff knows they need to purchase the critical ROW right now.

4. If funding is only made available in smaller amounts and as time progresses, a strategy can be pursued whereas some segments can be advanced ahead of others. Phasing can be done so that envisioned succesful segments are in operation ahead of the statewide system. Certain commuter corridors could be those very segments.

5. The CHSRA plans a round of town-hall type meetings before November 2008. The purpose is to gather and provide information speaking to the benefits of the system. At least that is what the authority said about 6 months ago. Who knows now.

And here is some eye candy:

Statewide system:


Norther California Options Map:
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 3:34 AM
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They're actually concidering Transbay tunnels accross the bay? Oh man, one of those will put a dent in the final bill if it by itself is not already more expensive than the rest of the project put together.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 4:02 AM
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They're actually concidering Transbay tunnels accross the bay? Oh man, one of those will put a dent in the final bill if it by itself is not already more expensive than the rest of the project put together.
Well, I am not 100% certain... more like 90%... but I believe that blue line near the BART crossing is to illustrate a connection. I have never hear of CHSR crossing the Bay except at the Dumbarton BRIDGE.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 5:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmfarley View Post
Well, I am not 100% certain... more like 90%... but I believe that blue line near the BART crossing is to illustrate a connection. I have never hear of CHSR crossing the Bay except at the Dumbarton BRIDGE.
Neither have I, although it would make most sense to construct a tunnel at that point so that both San Francisco and Oakland would be connected on the same line. That same line should come from San Jose to SF, then over to Oakland, then to Stockton and Sacramento after that. Either way, this is going to involve a humongous amount of funds which is why its so skeptical right now. Other than that I think its a fantastic proposal that will go great with the new Transbay Terminal.
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  #18  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 6:16 AM
Alta California Alta California is offline
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Holy smokes! That's $30 billion dollars to complete the entire system! That's

30 billion cheeseburgers.

That's the cost to complete this map:



As an Angeleno, I know my priorities and its not getting to Fresno faster.
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Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 6:17 AM
Richard Mlynarik Richard Mlynarik is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmfarley View Post
Well, I am not 100% certain... more like 90%... but I believe that blue line near the BART crossing is to illustrate a connection. I have never hear of CHSR crossing the Bay except at the Dumbarton BRIDGE.
First thing is that it is quite likely to be cheaper and faster and safer and higher capacity to bore a new Dumbarton rail link than to waste money on a slow and fraught and compromised bridge. The technology exists, and in fact is moderately close to being applied in exactly the same corridor, courtesy of the Hetch Hetchy aqueduct.

On the other hand, there's ultra-foamy talk of another SF-Alameda rail crossing: see the nutty lines-on-a-map under "SF-Oakland Transbay Crossing" at Javascript-infested http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/pu...lternative.asp.
(Despite the URL, this is all coming from the Bay Area Rail Plan people.)

My take is that Steve Heminger and pals at MTC (you know, the ones personally responsible for the $5 billion Bay Bridge budget blowout,
the multi-hundred-million FasTrak(tm) fiasco and the multi-hundred-million TransLink(tm) fiasco) decided we aren't going to have another rail crossing in 1999 as part of their Bay Bridge "design" "process", so now we have to live with it, which means squeezing all we can (which isn't much) out of BART, and putting a LOT more people into Transbay buses.

A new rail crossing is so extraordinarily expensive (circa $10 billion in 2002) -- not to mention technically infeasible because of Transbay Terminal mis-design -- that it is a complete distraction to even think about it.

But tails always wag the dog, nobody is ever responsible for anything, and nothing ever makes any sense in the Bay Area Transit Wonderworld...
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  #20  
Old Posted Jan 30, 2007, 7:51 AM
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I am following up to my previous comment about the Oakland to SF connection near the BART transbay tunnel... it is indeed part of the proposal. See pdf page 11 of the Bay Area to Central Valley HST EIR/EIS Study at following:

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/pu...gnStatOpts.pdf

Also, this page provides a number of preliminary engineering concepts for alignments acrss the bay.

http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/pu...lternative.asp
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