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  #61  
Old Posted May 16, 2011, 10:46 PM
econgrad2.0 econgrad2.0 is offline
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California's high-speed train wreck

latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-bullettrain-20110516,0,5409734.story

latimes.com
Editorial
California's high-speed train wreck
The state's plan to build a bullet train has become a monument to the ways poor planning, mismanagement and political interference can screw up major public works. We can do better.
May 16, 2011

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California's much-vaunted high-speed rail project is, to put it bluntly, a train wreck. Intended to demonstrate the state's commitment to sustainable, cutting-edge transportation systems, and to show that the U.S. can build rail networks as sophisticated as those in Europe and Asia, it is instead a monument to the ways poor planning, mismanagement and political interference can screw up major public works. For anti-government conservatives, it is also a powerful argument for scrapping President Obama's national rail plans, rescinding federal funding and canceling the project before any more money is wasted on it.

We couldn't disagree more. We pointed out back in 2008, before voters approved nearly $10 billion in state bonds to fund the project under Proposition 1A, that it would be more expensive and difficult to build than its backers were letting on. But we endorsed it anyway because of the economic and environmental benefits the train could bring. The benefits still outweigh the costs, and none of the $43-billion project's troubles are insurmountable. Fortunately, a report last week from the state Legislative Analyst's Office offers strong recommendations for getting the system back on track.

The train's biggest problems can be laid at the feet of the High Speed Rail Authority, which is overseeing its construction. Inexperienced board members appointed by the governor and Legislature on the basis of political patronage rather than expertise have made a host of poor decisions. Not the least boneheaded of these is the board's plan to take a circuitous route from Los Angeles to Bakersfield by veering through Palmdale and Lancaster. Compared with the more direct route along Interstate 5 through the Grapevine, this would add 30 miles to the trip plus $1 billion in construction costs, and make it all but impossible for the train to meet its promised travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes from L.A. to San Francisco. The legislative analyst calls for slashing the authority's proposed budget for next year by $185 million and eventually eliminating it, transferring the bullet train's oversight to another agency. We heartily agree.

Not all of the bad decisions can be blamed on the rail authority. To qualify for federal funds, planners had to agree to break ground by 2012. With political battles raging throughout the state over routing decisions, federal officials deemed that the only segment that would be ready for construction so quickly was in the sparsely populated Central Valley. As a result, the bulk of the $3.5 billion kicked in by the Obama administration must be spent on a train running between the tiny towns of Borden and Corcoran. Ridership on this initial segment would be slight, making it impossible to operate the train without taxpayer subsidies. Yet under the terms of Proposition 1A, the state can't issue bonds to pay for the project unless it has been demonstrated to be self-sufficient. What's more, if federal and other funds for further construction dry up, California could end up with an expensive train to nowhere.

The only practical way out of this mess is to follow the legislative analyst's advice and start over, renegotiating terms with the federal government and building the initial segment in a more populous area, such as between San Francisco and San Jose or between Los Angeles and Anaheim. That way, even if the rest of the line is never built, we'd still end up with a heavily used urban rail line. Such renegotiation could jeopardize federal funding and delay construction, but the needless haste created by Washington's arbitrary deadlines have resulted in mistakes that could be extremely costly.

Obama's inspiring vision of a nation crisscrossed by bullet trains, providing cleaner, safer and cheaper competition to airlines and reducing reliance on gas-guzzling automobiles, is in serious jeopardy as a new Republican majority in the House looks to slash his funding plans. In this environment, California is a test case for whether high-speed trains can succeed in the U.S. — and so far, the state is failing the test.

Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
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  #62  
Old Posted May 16, 2011, 10:52 PM
econgrad2.0 econgrad2.0 is offline
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High Speed Rail Fantasy

High Speed Rail Fantasy
With great fanfare the U.S. Transportation Secretary this week reallocated nearly $800 million to projects furthering the President’s high speed rail goals for the Northeast corridor where Amtrak operates the Acela trains between Washington DC and Boston. The seemingly heady sum was part of $2 billion in federal funding, which had been rejected earlier this year by Republican governors in Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio for similar projects.

Now to most intelligent readers, $800 million sounds like an enormous contribution, which will help transform popular Acela trains, which now average about 80 miles an hour, into Japanese style bullet trains or something akin to the Eurostar line which takes riders from London to Paris in just over two hours.

Think again. Amtrak released a study late last year that put the cost of implementing a true high speed rail program into perspective for all of us. Just for the DC to Boston route alone, the report budgets a total of $120 billion for constructing a true high speed rail line—that is where trains would run upwards of 200 miles an hour like they do throughout Europe and Asia today. That’s $120 billion, not $2 billion or $800 million or even the $8 billion in stimulus money the President allocated to high speed rail projects nationwide in 2009.
So maybe those Republican governors were not so foolish to turn their backs on those federal funds. Probably they were right about concerns that they would be saddled with additional costs for half-baked projects that had no chance for realization especially in the country’s current budget-busted condition.

Incredibly, it appears the U.S. has no chance to make any meaningful progress on the high speed rail front, probably for decades to come. Japan has had high speed rail since 1964. Its vaunted and still highly-praised systems have been surpassed by France, Germany, Italy and now China, which is in the middle of a 10,000-mile building spree connecting its major cities. Here in the great U.S.A., we abandoned passenger rail in most regions of the country back in the 1950s placing all our bets on the interstate system and the car. Without right of ways through major metro areas, the cost for building out systems here has become prohibitive and would be highly disruptive to many neighborhoods.

At least, the $800 million budgeted for the Northeast rail system will allow for badly needed repairs to aging tracks and increasingly dilapidated tunnels and bridges. Much-less than high speed trains will be able to go faster and the chances for systemic breakdowns lowered substantially. Fix-it first projects on the country’s infrastructure are actually much higher priorities for averting economic dislocation than building fancy, headline grabbing new projects. Our highways, transit lines and water systems need vast infusions of repair monies that we just cannot afford right now. In the meantime, this essential infrastructure becomes more obsolete, inefficient, and in danger of breakdown with potentially momentous costs when failures do occur.

As for high speed rail, ignore the hype. It’s just not happening.


http://www.globest.com/blogs/trendcz...-310035-1.html


Now add the Terrorist Security we will need (read above articles), and the costs and the time savings eventually go out the window. - E2.0
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  #63  
Old Posted May 16, 2011, 11:28 PM
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Talk about pessimistic... giving up is the easy way out. I wish some people would take the easy way out and stop trying to get in the way of meaningful progress. Some projects take longer than others, but where there's a will there's a way. What the naysayers lack is patience and long-term vision. Getting the central valley section built now doesn't give us any immediate reward, but it puts greater pressure on future leaders to continue the project of connecting San Francisco to L.A., instead of just connecting LA to Anaheim and giving up on the rest.

Let's be realistic... even in the wort case scenario where the Central Valley portion is built and the rest of the project is put on hold indefinitely for financial reasons, a long stretch of HSR track like that will not be ignored by the public. It will keep getting brought up in conversation. There might be documentaries about it on PBS. People will ask what went wrong? And then the next generation will pick up where your generation failed, and complete it. I have faith in that.
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  #64  
Old Posted May 17, 2011, 3:06 AM
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Peer report urges quick action by high-speed rail authority

Peer report urges quick action by high-speed rail authority

BY JOHN COX, Californian staff writer
jcox@bakersfield.com | Wednesday, May 11 2011 08:19 PM
Last Updated Wednesday, May 11 2011 08:20 PM

A new private-sector report aired in Sacramento Wednesday warns that the California High Speed Rail Authority has a lot of fundamental work to complete by mid-October if it hopes to keep the state's political and financial support.

The May 2 letter by the chairman of a peer review group commissioned by the Legislature is less critical than other recent analyses, such as Tuesday's high-level recommendation that the project be handed to CalTrans and overhauled. The chairman points to recent signs of progress by the rail authority and even lays some blame with federal and state authorities.

At the same time, the report urgently calls out significant hurdles to getting the project through critical early stages. It reiterates calls for plausible ridership projections and a better business model while noting that the rail authority continues to provide inadequate cost estimates and community outreach.

Critics of the project on Wednesday seized upon the report as evidence that the rail authority is pursuing a flawed plan, even as supporters said it demonstrates that the agency badly needs more staffing to ensure the success of what they consider a sound proposal.

The chairman of the state Senate Transportation and Housing Committee, Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, nodded to both sides, saying that the staffing shortage is real but that new employees may not save an agency that has for years failed to produce acceptable ridership numbers and a complete business plan.

DeSaulnier, who called himself a supporter of California high-speed rail, said he agreed with the peer review group's counsel that unless the rail authority addresses certain critical issues in its 2011 Business Plan, due in draft form Oct. 14, then it will have a tough time persuading the Legislature to give it the bond sale proceeds the project needs as it prepares to begin construction.

"It's very real," he said of the bond sale money's dependence on first resolving various fundamental issues. "I mean, if we don't get it fixed, we can't move forward."California's bullet train project, officially estimated to cost $43 billion, is proposed to link Los Angeles with San Francisco with 220-mph trains by 2020. Construction on an initial, $5.5 billion segment from northern Fresno County to about Bakersfield is expected to begin next year.
Senate hearing discussion
The peer review group letter by Will Kempton, chairman of the peer review group and CEO of the Orange County Transportation Authority, was written in response to a presentation made April 1 to the group by Roelof van Ark, CEO of the rail authority. Copies were sent last week to Gov. Jerry Brown, several California lawmakers and other state elected officials, though some said they had not yet seen the letter.

Kempton's letter was the subject of discussion Wednesday at a Sacramento hearing of the Senate Select Committee on High Speed Rail.

Committee Chairman Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, who favors reducing the rail authority's power and giving the project to CalTrans, as recommended Tuesday by the nonpartisan state Legislative Analyst's Office, took the opportunity to grill van Ark and Kempton on the most pressing points contained in the letter as well as the LAO's report, which also advised starting construction not in the Central Valley as proposed but in either Northern or Southern California in order to bring in money sooner.

Van Ark said the rail authority is doing its best with limited resources and an uncertain financing and engineering picture.

Building up his staff's competencies through hiring "is actually the main thing we've got to concentrate on," he said.

Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, D-Livingston, one of the project's biggest supporters in the capital, seconded that in comments after the hearing.

"We haven't given (authority staff) the resources they need in order to be successful," she said.

But the chairwoman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, Bonnie Lowenthal, D-Long Beach, saw the peer review report as reaffirming her doubts that the project is on the right track.

"This is one more note in a symphony that's telling us to make some real changes on this project," she said.

Project uncertainties
As the peer review group has done in past communications, Kempton's letter spells out uncertainties that could hobble efforts to attract private money to the project. Without strong financial commitment from government, the private sector won't risk its own money, and vice-versa. A related problem is that state law rules out subsidies to support the project, although the report noted that the definition of such subsidies is unclear.

Kempton noted that the rail authority has gone ahead with important decisions -- and expects to make more -- without input from a private operator, which has not been selected but which would benefit from a voice in such matters. That lack of input could limit future financing options, he said.

The project's cost estimates are problematic as well, he wrote. The rail authority has not updated its projected expenses even as it learns more about the challenges ahead, Kempton noted.

"There may be little that can be done about the problem at this stage, but the Authority should make every effort to state and qualify its estimates accordingly so that the public will understand that the $43 billion total is still a very preliminary estimate that could 'trend upward,'" the letter states.

Kempton also pointed to the "immensely complex" environmental review process that has great potential to guide or hinder the project's timely progress. Acknowledging the authority's insufficient staff, he nevertheless warned that inadequate public outreach has caused "more intense local reaction" than necessary.

The peer review group did not attribute all the problems to the rail authority. The report implies that adequate staffing for the authority is essentially the Legislature's responsibility, and that despite the $3 billion in federal grant money, the project's government funding falls billions of dollars short of what has been requested by the rail authority.

The rail authority did win some praise in the letter, which calls the hiring of a new staff member to handle difficult track right-of-way issues a "positive step."

Although Kempton was critical of some aspects of the latest business model, he noted that "some of the more unrealistic options" for setting up the project's operations, management and financing seem to have been dismissed.

http://www.bakersfield.com/news/busi...rail-authority
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  #65  
Old Posted May 17, 2011, 3:09 AM
econgrad2.0 econgrad2.0 is offline
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Saturday, May. 14, 2011
Bob Brown: High-speed rail eye opener
It's time to review the facts about high-speed rail.


HSR was voted in by the public, but the heavy votes for it were in the affluent heavily unionized parts of California. The largest land mass rejected it.
The original cost of a ticket, one way from LAX to SFO, was $55, before the vote. Now before the first tie has been laid and the vote now taken, that cost has soared to $105. That means a reduction of about one-third in ridership.High-speed rail in other countries is for the masses, not the elites.
A recent news release stated that 80 percent of the population would have access to HSR, but that's just more spin. Here's an example of their fuzzy math.

Rod Diridon, CHSRA, told the San Francisco Examiner it costs $118 to drive from LAX to SFO.

With gas at $4 a gallon, getting 20 mpg using Mapquest mileage of 380 miles, it would cost $80. With one passenger it would be $40 each -- a far cry from $105 -- or $80 each round--trip, not $210 by rail.
Airfare is $125 one-way, but fares on American for an hour-and-a-half flight start at $59 with a 7-day advance.
A GAO report stated the HSR system should be operated and maintained by the private sector.

That contractor should be allowed to make a "fair" profit. It also stated projections should be made by the private sector.

UC Berkeley agrees the ridership numbers are inflated. Because those numbers aren't accurate, does that mean the job-creation numbers are also slanted?

So if we follow the French or Japanese model using the private sector, the GAO states it will have to be subsidized -- an ongoing, continual burden on the taxpayer.

According to the GAO report, the cost per mile is $63 million to $65 million. That doesn't include construction of stations or repair facilities. Is the $43 billion the limit to be spent?

If the main line bypasses Merced and points north, so much for a heavy repair facility. When will the north branch be done to Sacramento? Will the system have money for that or will it be changed to SFO to Sacramento?

So far 11 cities are against HSR, including Gilroy, Orange, Anaheim and Chowchilla. It appears GE, with help from the Chinese, would build the system and cars. Would this be a bid or an award?

A few words about GE: the company already has taken $16 billion in government money. This is the same GE that's the parent company of NBC and MSNBC -- and both pushed for Obama's election, closed a light bulb plant to make lights in China and whose CEO is now a presidential adviser.

The three big winners are GE, the elites and the unions. GE gets billions of our money, the elite have their own toy and the unions get big wages and more pensions. Other winners would be consultants, engineering firms, landowners and lawyers. How many elected officials and appointees are getting money?

Now who loses? The taxpayers and the county of Merced.

Congress should investigate this, for obvious reasons.

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/05...-rail-eye.html

@ Rampant_JWalker: "I would love to have High Speed Rail as much as possible in the United States. I would even love to see an international HSR system. My problem is, the United States Federal Government, teaming up with corrupt corporations and Labor Unions fleecing us tax payers. Get rid of those three, you would have an HSR, at no tax payer expense." - Econ2.0

Last edited by econgrad2.0; May 17, 2011 at 9:01 AM.
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  #66  
Old Posted May 17, 2011, 8:55 PM
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I don't think you're a liar, Econgrad, but I do think you're imagining things and treating them as facts.
Amtrak Chief: Trains More Vulnerable to Attack Than Planes

WASHINGTON -- Amtrak President Joseph Boardman says he wants to step up security patrols of the passenger rail network and explore new technologies able to provide advance warning of track tampering following revelations that Al Qaeda considered attacking U.S. trains.

Boardman told a Senate panel Tuesday that the agency has expanded its use of explosive-sniffing dogs and is in close contact with U.S. and international security agencies.

He said promising ultrasonic and laser technologies may enable detection of track problems far ahead of trains. But he cautioned that trains are more vulnerable to attack than planes because terrorists have more ability to access trains and track.

He said more patrols of tracks are needed to identify specific points of vulnerability.


http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011...k-planes/print
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  #67  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2012, 5:43 PM
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Want to know how to end the conversation? Interject your extreme political or religious views. I know because I've been guilty of it myself.

Anyway, as Sacramentans I don't see why we should support the HSR. It doesn't do anything for our economy. It's ridiculous. The whole idea is to link LA with SFBA which is fine but it's way too costly and leaves out the 3rd and 4th largest metro areas in the state. Is there even going to be enough riders to justify the cost? It's not going to be cheap to ride the HSR. A lot of the N-S back and forth is made by moderate income earners. Also since LA is still such a automobile-orientated town I just don't believe the projected ridership numbers. People are going rightly reason that once they get to LA they are going to have to have a car to get around... which is another added cost.

We should focus on connecting the major cities of Northern California together first and then tackle the N-S link after that.

We should be asking/seeking/demanding an upgrade of the Capitol Line - with dedicated tracks (independent of freight/Amtrak), improved stations, and high-speed trains that go right into downtown San Francisco either by way of a new under-the-bay tunnel or by putting tracks back on the bridge.

I never hear this coming out of the mouths of any leaders in Sacramento, why not?

What do you think this will do for the Sacramento economy?

BTW San Diego should be asking for the same thing - connecting SD with LA with a HSR.

Last edited by ozone; Apr 2, 2012 at 6:13 PM.
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  #68  
Old Posted Apr 2, 2012, 6:29 PM
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Honestly, I don't see this ever getting built anyway. Even if it does it will take a century
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  #69  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 1:10 AM
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Originally Posted by ozone View Post
We should be asking/seeking/demanding an upgrade of the Capitol Line - with dedicated tracks (independent of freight/Amtrak), improved stations, and high-speed trains that go right into downtown San Francisco either by way of a new under-the-bay tunnel or by putting tracks back on the bridge.

I never hear this coming out of the mouths of any leaders in Sacramento, why not?

What do you think this will do for the Sacramento economy?
The biggest issue with the Capital Corridor is the route it takes from Martinez to Berkeley. We need a more direct route, don't know if that is possible?
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  #70  
Old Posted Apr 3, 2012, 4:10 PM
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The biggest issue with the Capital Corridor is the route it takes from Martinez to Berkeley. We need a more direct route, don't know if that is possible?
Instead of extending BART to Vallejo why not carry the Capitol Line to Vallejo and from there to Richmond?
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  #71  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2012, 5:10 AM
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One word; topography (and/or cost, depending on how you see it). I'm not sure of the exact numbers, but it would be a steep grade for a railroad to get from Fairfield/Suisun to Vallejo, at the tracks being high enough to span a new bridge that would be needed over the Carquinez Straight. No to mention the money for the previously mentioned bridge, right-of-way acquisitions, and engineering of that grade, and it would be quite the expensive project...one that I would support (since it would carry a variety of benefits), but doubtful of it finding the support it would need to actually become reality.
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  #72  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2012, 5:51 AM
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with 2 ballot initiatives gathering signatures and possibly coming in november to stop the state from giving any money toward HSR, and from what i have been told, 1 of them is VERY close to having the required signatures needed to end up on the ballot, high speed rail will soon be history in California. and perhaps its not the right time. We have a governor who cuts public safety to save money, releases thousands of prisoners to save money, cuts funding for schools and closes state parks to save money, even stops state employees from cell phone usage, but wants to spend 100 BILLION on a train that has only $3.3 BILLION of it covered by the federal government, 9 billion covered by the state by way of initiative, no private investment on the table leaving a funding gap worth tens of BILLIONs and only hopes and dreams that the federal government will pay the rest....

then remember, we may have a republican for president in 8 months, possibly a republican controlled house and senate and guaranteed they would not fund HSR.

too many ifs....this needs to be stopped before they build a track that leads from merced and ends in chowchilla when the funding dries up...

besides, right now there are alot more important things for billions of tax payer dollars to go to instead of a dream train. maybe when the economy comes back
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  #73  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2012, 5:32 PM
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That money will be spent on transportation infrastructure whether high-speed rail gets built or not. Currently the flights between Northern and Southern California are ranked among the busiest routes for air traffic in the world with millions of passengers per year (link). As the population of the state increases more airport runways and facilities will need to be built unless we have HSR up and running. Freeways through heavily urbanized North-South corridors will need to be widened, such as S.F. to Gilroy or L.A. to San Diego. Thirty years from now it's possible that they will need to widen most of highway 99 as the Central Valley's population continues to grow.

So the state and federal governments are going to need to spend these billions of dollars on transportation, or the state's economy and transportation systems will be crippled. It's a choice of investing in existing transportation modes or adding a new, faster, more efficient one that will have the capacity to reduce future air and road travel by more than half, as it has in Spain, Japan, and many other places.

Choosing High Speed Rail also has important urban growth implications. Expanding the freeway system to meet future demand will continue to encourage and reinforce the sprawling horizontal growth of cities, especially cities in the Central Valley which are projected to grow rapidly. HSR would encourage and enable higher levels of growth in urban cores as businesses and residents would locate themselves closer to the HSR stations or along streetcar lines that feed into the central train stations. This is a form of growth that we all know is more sustainable because it reduces automobile use and preserves farmland and natural habitat at the urban edge.

So to me there are several reasons to continue building High Speed Rail:

It will satisfy the state's future transportation needs. Whether or not HSR is built, California will need to meet those demands somehow.

It will shorten the travel time between Northern and Southern California. This will amplify the Mega-region effect that make's California's economy so strong. It will also be amazing for tourism, and that means more $ coming in to the state.

It will create jobs and new industries. California has the opportunity to become North America's leader in rail technology, something we could export to other regions.

I predict, although there are no studies on this, that HSR would help bring Central Valley cities out of poverty, as they would be much less isolated from the main economic engines of the state.

We have the demand, we have the educated workforce, we have the materials and the equipment to do this. The issue that keeps getting in the way is currency, an abstract invention called the dollar, and 100 billion of them. In 2007 the state spent 14 billion dollars on transportation link, surely building roads and expanding freeways to feed all the new suburban communities that had just been built. Knowing this, suddenly the 70-100 billion needed to build HSR does not seem as huge, especially when we divide it over 15-20 years.

Get real people, the rest of the world is building high speed rail because it's valuable, useful, and more cost efficient in the long run than freeways will ever be. Gas prices aren't getting any lower so don't expect air travel to get cheaper. California needs to continue this project. I hope that my generation doesn't have to start the whole process over again 15 years from now when the state of the transportation system is much more dire than it is today.
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  #74  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2012, 6:41 PM
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^^ need HSR? no not need. Alot of people want it, but california cant afford to pay for it alone, and there is no guaranteed federal funding beyond 3 billion, and if romney is elected, you can just forget it. its not going to happen. yes it is less costly than Gingrich's moon colony, but still not likely to happen. in the most regulated state in the nation where we cant even get an arena built for a few hundred million, what makes you think our leaders are competent enough to get a train for 100 billion?....
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  #75  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2012, 7:17 PM
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kryptos the state's regulation has zero, nada, zip to do with not getting an arena built in Sacramento.

Have we forgotten that we've been in a deep, dark recession and just don't have the tax revenue coming in that we use to? Regardless, who becomes president is not as important as who's on the appropriation committees. It's a big fat lie that Republicans don't pig out on government pork as much as Democrats do. Both parties spend your money and redistribute wealth. Travel with me around this great country of ours and I will show you that some of the costliest federally-funded projects are in the reddest of states.
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  #76  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2012, 7:54 PM
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kryptos the state's regulation has zero, nada, zip to do with not getting an arena built in Sacramento.

Have we forgotten that we've been in a deep, dark recession and just don't have the tax revenue coming in that we use to? Regardless, who becomes president is not as important as who's on the appropriation committees. It's a big fat lie that Republicans don't pig out on government pork as much as Democrats do. Both parties spend your money and redistribute wealth. Travel with me around this great country of ours and I will show you that some of the costliest federally-funded projects are in the reddest of states.
what i meant was that california is the state of regulation, and i was using peoples unwillingness to fund projects such as the arena as an example.

im well aware of redstate pork, i used to live in the south. however HSR mainly pushed as a democrat project and republicans have come out against it, as well as the many people on both sides who have signed the "no train please act" in order to get it on the ballot. this is the initiative that will eliminate the CHSRA and prevent the state from spending any money on it without voter approval and it is close to its mark and still has more than 2 and a half months to keep gathering signatures. people voted for it before but that was when the total cost was expected to only be 43 billion, not 98 billion, and with cost and time overruns it will be even more. i just cant support HSR at this time and im confident that if it goes to a vote, HSR is done in CA until our economy picks up
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  #77  
Old Posted Apr 6, 2012, 8:03 PM
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I agree with you there.
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  #78  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2012, 12:26 AM
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i think it will happen eventually, but when it does it cant be started in madera and end in corcoran like was on the original plan.

IT should be 2 separate rail systems first, one for north and one for south. in the north it should start in Sacramento, stop in stockton and follow the 580 corridor with one track headed toward oakland and the other to san jose, and in the south it should be from san diego to anaheim to L.A. and from riverside to san bernadino to L.A.

make it a high speed commuter train system first, maximizing usage and building a strong rider base. if its successful then connect the north and south systems down the 99 corridor.
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  #79  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2012, 2:54 PM
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rampany_jwalker:
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I predict, although there are no studies on this, that HSR would help bring Central Valley cities out of poverty, as they would be much less isolated from the main economic engines of the state.
There is actually a pretty good study by Shaw Kantor from UC Merced showing the significant economic benefits for the Central Valley from investing in high speed rail: http://www.californiahighspeedtrains...y%20Report.pdf High speed rail will help reduce unemployment cities in the Central Valley by connecting cities with high rates of unemployment with job centers in the Bay Area and Southern California. People will be able to get from Fresno to good jobs in San Jose in an hour or from Bakersfield to the Santa Clarita Valley in an hour, while working and being productive the entire trip.

Similarly, high speed rail will reduce unemployment and encourage economic development of metropolitan regions in the Central Valley by further encouraging economies of scale: http://www.tnr.com/article/economy/7...economy-future . Central Valley businesses will have greater access to markets in the rest of the state and expanded access to suppliers and other inputs throughout the state.

Just as investing in high speed rail will expand the access of jobs Central Valley residents will access to, it will make it easier for Central Valley institutions to attract skilled professionals. It is easy to see a top surgeon commuting from the Bay Area to Fresno a few days a week or a professor commuting to UC Merced to teach courses. The improved mobility of high speed rail makes possible all sorts of commercial activities that wouldn't be be feasible before.

The report by Mr. Kantor also notes the improved tax revenue available to county and local governments in the Valley from this expanded economic activity. The report estimates this to be $46M per year.

Cities throughout the Valley also have extensive downtown redevelopment plans around the high speed rail stations (http://issuu.com/acerail/docs/high-2...20tod-20report ). Fresno, alone, has perhaps billions of dollars of new infill development planned around its high speed rail station (http://fresnodowntownplans.com/media...ts_reduced.pdf). In almost every city across the US, there are hundreds of millions of dollars, some times billions of dollars of new development within walking distance of rail stations. Spending more on highways, on the other hand, leads to more sprawl (with time lost to congestion, more air pollution, greater consumption of oil, etc...).
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  #80  
Old Posted Apr 7, 2012, 3:15 PM
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kryptos:
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We have a governor who cuts public safety to save money, releases thousands of prisoners to save money, cuts funding for schools and closes state parks to save money, even stops state employees from cell phone usage, but wants to spend 100 BILLION on a train...
Under Dan Richard, the California High Speed Rail Authority has taken many steps to reduce the estimated cost to $68B from the $100B (admittedly more than the original $40B). It does this by using existing infrastructure in the Bay Area and Southern California, specifically by electrifying Caltrain track and using the Metrolink tracks in Southern California. Because of the use of this existing infrastructure, the Initial Operating System will now extend from Merced to Sylmar in the San Fernando Valley (http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_203...n-gets-support ). This can no longer be described as a train-to-nowhere in any fairness.

It is estimated that the entire Interstate Highway System cost between $400B and $500B to complete. Was all of this money available in 1956 when Eisenhower first proposed this? Of course not. The highway system was built in sections and funded as money became available through the gas tax. This gas tax is also insufficient to maintain the interstate highway system now. The federal highway trust fund is bankrupt and has needed to be bailed out by the general fund (i.e. subsidies) by $7B - $8B for each of the past four years.
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