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  #101  
Old Posted Aug 5, 2010, 10:19 PM
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Some people are blissfully ignorant no matter how much an issue is publicized. You could tape it to their medicine cabinet and some would still say they haven't gotten around to informing themselves about the project. I just lament the American spirit of common purpose and sacrifice that would help along an ambitious and socially beneficial transportation project like CaliHSR, instead of the 'me first,' 'not at my expense' selfish attitude that seems to dominate nowadays.
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  #102  
Old Posted Aug 6, 2010, 5:02 PM
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A couple of comments, mostly re politics:

I don't blame just Obama; the debt problem and the idea of government management of the economy is an old one (and, thankfully, one with less and less credibility). Obama (or more correctly, his advisors) is to blame for the failed stimulus package but not for the prior history, which included GOP as well as Democratic support.

Tax cuts generally will stimulate investment and spending to a moderate degree. Aside from targeted tax benefits, such as investment or R&D credits, there is no other good way of encouraging investment without repercussions or inefficiency. Increased investment leads to greater long-term growth.

Just to make it less political, a look at the UK (Thatcher) and Sweden (around the Olaf Palme era) indicates the general effect of lower taxes and moderated government spending on long-term growth. Kennedy era tax changes (yes, by a Democrat) might also prove instructive.

I'm afraid the SGV residents are just catching up with the Peninsula and SJ area residents who have concerns about destruction of communities and eminent domain as well. An intelligent solution is to mitigate in areas where there is local opposition, either by changing routes or appropriate soundproofing or tunneling. A not so intelligent approach is to call them dummies and anti-social troublemakers.
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  #103  
Old Posted Aug 6, 2010, 9:01 PM
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Wow, those NIMBY's are getting their kids involved even. I bet they don't know a damn thing about the project.
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  #104  
Old Posted Aug 8, 2010, 4:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pesto View Post
A couple of comments, mostly re politics:

I don't blame just Obama; the debt problem and the idea of government management of the economy is an old one (and, thankfully, one with less and less credibility). Obama (or more correctly, his advisors) is to blame for the failed stimulus package but not for the prior history, which included GOP as well as Democratic support.
A failed stimulus package? Up until a couple months ago, the monthly climb in job losses in the private sector collapsed ever since the stimulus was passed, and for a short amount of time, we actually GAINED jobs.

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I'm afraid the SGV residents are just catching up with the Peninsula and SJ area residents who have concerns about destruction of communities and eminent domain as well. An intelligent solution is to mitigate in areas where there is local opposition, either by changing routes or appropriate soundproofing or tunneling. A not so intelligent approach is to call them dummies and anti-social troublemakers.
I doubt it's gonna come out here. The 10 freeway is already a pain in the ass due to the HOV lanes U/C, and the San Bernardino Metrolink ROW through Baldwin Park and West Covina has barely enough room to accomodate double-tracking the Metrolink, let alone additional tracks for HSR.

Forget track-sharing...

The most likely scenario is that it's gonna use the Riverside Metrolink ROW that goes through City of Industry.
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  #105  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2010, 3:47 PM
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Riverside officials press for March area bullet train stop (Press-Enterprise)

Riverside officials press for March area bullet train stop

By DUG BEGLEY
The Press-Enterprise
8/12/2010

Analysis of which route is best for bullet trains to get from Los Angeles to San Diego is still about six months from completion, but Riverside business and city officials are continuing an aggressive push to have a station near March Air Reserve Base.

High-speed trains are proposed to run from downtown Los Angeles to San Diego, via a sweeping loop to lure Inland residents. The line is part of a larger system that planners hope will link San Diego to Sacramento by 2030.


Photo courtesy of Press-Enterprise

The contention is how far east that loop goes from LA to San Diego. Corona officials and others have suggested the line travel west from LA to Ontario International Airport, and then slash down Interstate 15. San Bernardino and Riverside officials are pressing for a route that goes from the airport east to San Bernardino and then down Interstate 215....

http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/...3.2c68059.html
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  #106  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2010, 9:35 PM
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High-speed rail factions on display at meeting


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...BUV51EP5HU.DTL

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It was SRO at the California High-Speed Rail Authority's meeting in San Francisco on Thursday, in the wake of the furious public exchanges between Bay Area Council CEO Jim Wunderman and Peninsula officials this week.

The divisions between those calling for full speed ahead on the $43 billion California high-speed rail project (Wunderman, et al) and dissenters were on full display, if wrapped in politer "spirit of collaboration" rhetoric.

Mayors and city council members from Burlingame, Belmont, Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park joined together in the Peninsula Cities Consortium, and issued a clarion call this month that the San Francisco-San Jose leg of the project should be "built right or not at all," prompting accusations of "obstructionist policies" from Wunderman.

The consortium's demand comes down, essentially, to chucking out the planned route through their cities, mostly along existing Caltrain lines, to be replaced with an alternative that, in the words of Assemblyman Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, "will not destroy our communities," but will "reflect the quality of life that we enjoy."
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  #107  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2010, 10:11 PM
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"Destroy our communities" -- talk about hyperbole. Running in an existing ROW, eliminating the noise and inconvenience of grade crossings and running a few extra yet far quieter trains is now considered destroying the community. Got it.
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  #108  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2010, 7:25 PM
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Who will pay for California's high-speed rail system?


http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stori...=1&forced=true

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- The California High-Speed Rail Authority, created to carry out the project, told voters in 2008 that the rail line would cost $33.6 billion. The price has since jumped 27 percent, to $42.6 billion.

- The Rail Authority's estimate has risen mostly because when the measure went on the ballot, it didn't account for inflation, which is expected to total 19 percent over five years of construction.

- A Bay Area News Group analysis of high-speed systems around the globe suggests that the project could cost less than the current estimate, as little as $38 billion. But it is most likely to cost more -- up to $73 billion, even if built on time.

- "The state of California does not do anything cheaper than the rest of the world," said Adrian Moore, vice president of the libertarian Reason Foundation. "There is no way it will be close to $45 billion." Costs along some parts of the rail line zoomed up earlier this year, including one five-mile stretch on the Peninsula where estimates soared $135 million. The reason? Engineers had estimated the cost of building two tracks there when they actually needed four.



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  #109  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2010, 7:47 PM
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Why can't they find private $$$?
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  #110  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2010, 10:32 PM
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Why can't they find private $$$?
No private company ever pays for huge capital projects like this.
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  #111  
Old Posted Aug 18, 2010, 11:50 PM
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A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.

btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.
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  #112  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2010, 3:09 AM
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Originally Posted by pesto View Post
A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.

btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.
I agree, even though I live in the IE. Last Friday I drove from OC to San Diego, leaving at 12:30 in the afternoon. It took me 2.5 hours to reach my destination because of the stop-and-go traffic on the 5. The 15 is hardly ever that crowded, and I've traveled that road to SD dozens of times at all times of day during various days of the week.

A big chunk of those using CA HSR will be tourists, and they will want a quick link between LA and SD via OC, not via the mostly job-oriented IE. I think an IE branch is necessary, but I also agree it should stop around San Bernardino or Riverside and make stops near Industry, Pomona, and Ontario.

Currently, Amtrak operates between Irvine and SD's Santa Fe Depot for over $40 round trip. That's a total joke. There's no way a trip to SD for an OC resident could cost $40 in gas, parking, and car maintenance. I drive a Prius, and I'm a huge fan of taking public transit, but it has to be practical. I could see myself paying $40 RT for an OC-SD trip, but only if it were for HSR and if it included the parking.
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  #113  
Old Posted Aug 19, 2010, 7:04 AM
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A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.

btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.
Yeah, I don't see how this thing is going to make money going off the history of high-speed rail. On the other hand, I think it almost has to be built in California for the sake of the economy. The cars have got to stop.
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  #114  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2010, 8:23 PM
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Quote:
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A more complete answer is that private companies don't ever pay because they don't see the return being there. That's what makes the public debate about this necessary. If it were a money maker, it would just need some public permits and the funding would be forthcoming.

That's why a serious audit and analysis of costs is required, along with a clear view of alternatives (electric cars, airplanes) and their costs. It will lose money; the question is how much are you willing to lose. And, of course, there are the local community issues as well.
That's not really correct. There is plenty of precedent and evidence that HSR will make money. However, the ROI is going to be extremely long term, and HSR is going to require an extremely large amount of money to be viable, neither of which appeal to private investors. Private investors think too short term, and they are not going to risk $40 billion+.

The government has to be involved for a variety of reasons including thinking long term, the ability to factor in the many, many reasons to build HSR that aren't directly related to its immediate profitability, the ability to raise the massive sums of money required, and the ability to use government powers such as eminent domain.

I agree that there should be more private investors involved, but I believe that the primary reason they are not materializing yet has less to do with the profitability of the project and more to do with the still speculative nature of the project. You're not going to start seeing serious private money committed to this until after the EIRs are finalized, the route is finalized, and we are seriously into the specific design phase. Until then, it is too easy for the plug to get pulled before anything even happens, and it is too long before trains start running and investors see any kind of ROI.

Quote:
btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.
I tend to agree, the issue though is that it is environmentally and politically extremely difficult, if not outright impossible to build full scale HSR through OC and north SD county. Ignoring the fact that prop 1A was passed promising a route through the IE and onto SD (which is not a trivial issue, as that general design legally cannot be changed without another voter mandate), the ROW simply isn't there along much of the coastal route, and would be nearly if not completely impossible to acquire.

Have you ever ridden Amtrak or the Metrolink/Coaster along that route? There are long sections where it is single tracked, the trains run slow for environmental sensitivity reasons, and (particularly between about Oceanside and about San Juan Capistrano) there are long stretches where the ROW is limited to single track by geography (the ocean on the west and the bluffs to the east). There are significant stretches where the tracks run right along the beach and look unsustainable in a serious storm as they're built now. Add in that long portions of that ROW run through Camp Pendleton and environmentally sensitive areas and it's almost all controlled by the coast commission, and you begin to see how impossible it would be to even double track that ROW the whole way, much less add the 3rd and 4th tracks that would be necessary and get approval for high speeds.

I agree that the general route through OC makes much more sense than the IE routes, but it's too infeasible when you try to figure out the actual details. The current ROW isn't upgradeable enough, a whole new ROW is completely out of the questions given the costs of ROW acquisition through that area, Camp Pendleton and other state and federal land, etc., and prop 1A requires a route that goes through the IE.
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  #115  
Old Posted Aug 20, 2010, 11:29 PM
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Why do governments invest in transportation infrastructure?

The answer is economic development. The profitability of high-speed rail does not exist in a vacuum. And, clearly, California realizes that Smart Growth in the Central Valley and in the Inland Empire is in the economic interests of the State.

High-speed rail, like airports, has a tremendous impact on the patterns of development.
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  #116  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2010, 2:15 AM
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High-speed rail, like airports, has a tremendous impact on the patterns of development.
Airports have an impact on development? They're usually built in the middle of nowhere.
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  #117  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2010, 3:08 AM
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One of the reasons the Inland Empire has been having so much trouble with job growth since the Great Recession hit is because L.A.W.A. has fees set inordinately high at L.A./Ontario International Airport, which, as a result, has been losing flights.

Employers need a certain number of convenient non-stop flights. High-speed rail will serve the same function and will also connect more cities to airports, themselves, thereby regionalizing air-travel demand.

High-speed rail will be absolutely essential to the U.S. and California's economic competitiveness in the future. And, de-suburbanizing the Inland Empire will be imperative for maintaining California's historic levels of job growth and productivity. The Central Valley needs Smart Growth for some of the same reasons, but, considering that the region is the most fertile farmland on the planet, the agricultural output there, likewise, needs to be preserved.
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  #118  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2010, 3:11 PM
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PragmaticIdealist:
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One of the reasons the Inland Empire has been having so much trouble with job growth since the Great Recession hit is because L.A.W.A. has fees set inordinately high at L.A./Ontario International Airport, which, as a result, has been losing flights.
With all due respect, air travel certainly is a key enabler of economic growth but the rate the landing fees are set at at LAX and Ontario has almost no effect on job growth or other macroeconomic conditions in Southern California. High unemployment and one of the most depressed housing markets in the US is a far more accurate explanation of why Ontario has been losing flights.
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  #119  
Old Posted Aug 21, 2010, 3:14 PM
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Rail authority stands by its ridership projections (SJ Mercury)

Rail authority stands by its ridership projections

By Bonnie Eslinger
San Jose Mercury
Posted: 08/21/2010

The California High-Speed Rail Authority released a revised environmental study Friday night that stands by its ridership projections, despite a contention from project opponents that the numbers are inflated.

The 2,454-page revised environmental impact report was unveiled at 6 p.m., one day after Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny tentatively ruled he won't reopen a 2008 lawsuit by Atherton, Menlo Park and other groups that sought to block bullet trains from zooming up and down the Peninsula.

After a short hearing Friday, Kenny said he would issue his final decision next week.

In October 2009, Kenny concluded that the rail authority's environmental impact report needed revisions, but he rejected the plaintiffs' request to halt the $42.6 billion project. The report released Friday is supposed to address some of the concerns raised by opponents....

http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-...058?source=rss
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  #120  
Old Posted Aug 22, 2010, 5:34 AM
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Originally Posted by pesto View Post
btw, both of the IE routes are silly. The only time-effective connection between LA and SD is via the OC. The IE routes are too long with too many stops. In effect, it's an overly long commuter line that encourages even more sprawl. Cut it off at UC Riverside.
The CHSR isn't going past Irvine.
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