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Thread: Gov. Schwartzenegger's high speed rail proposal

  1. #1
    Cyburbian TexanOkie's avatar
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    Gov. Schwartzenegger's high speed rail proposal

    I heard that Arnold has put a quite expensive proposal for high speed rail infrastructure in the California as a ballot initiative for this election. Any CA Cyburbians want to weigh in on the proposal or any other issues relating to it?

    EDIT: Mods, can you move this to a more suitable forum topic, if there is one? Thanks.
    Last edited by TexanOkie; 08 Oct 2008 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Move?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TexanOkie View post
    I heard that Arnold has put a quite expensive proposal for high speed rail infrastructure in the California as a ballot initiative for this election. Any CA Cyburbians want to weigh in on the proposal or any other issues relating to it?

    EDIT: Mods, can you move this to a more suitable forum topic, if there is one? Thanks.
    It's more than a decade in the making. The prop, if passed, will allocate $10 billion in funding for starting the $40 billion project. Here is the official site of the California High Speed Rail Authority (a commission created more than 10 years ago):

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

    After you take a look at the website, let me know if you have any questions. I'm very involved with a lot of different aspects of this in one way or another (professionally in some ways, personally in others). The project isn't perfect (a lot of less-than-desirable compromises had to be made), but it's a project that has almost unlimited positive possibilities.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  3. #3
    I have lots of relatives in Los Angeles, the Bay Area and everywhere in between. I so hope they build it!

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Although i am not in total fan of the route they chose (i preferred the altamont v. pacheco pass) this is going to be the only bond measure i will vote for. I think the rest of the nation will be watching how we implement this thing if it passes. I personally think the state of the economy will kill the bond but we need it because SFO, LAX and other airports are landlocked and can't really expand to accommodate more air passengers.
    Men do dumb $hit... it is what they do to correct the problem that counts.

  5. #5
    The Altamont vs. Pacheco alignment could be the subject of a whole other thread. For those of you who are not familiar with the controversy (I favor the Pacheco pass option for very selfish reasons: my mother lives a couple of light rail stops down from the San Jose - Diridon Station and the Pacheco pass option would be much faster for me - I hope this explanation isn't too biased):

    The high speed line would go north from Los Angeles through the Central Valley. The problem is how should the line turn west to go into the Bay Area. Because of the mountains, there are really only two options: A northern option through Altamont Pass, then the line splits after it gets to the west of San Francisco Bay, one line going north to San Francisco, one line south to San Jose. In the southern option (these are about 35 miles apart from each other), the line goes into San Jose on its way up the peninsula with a split going up the east bay to serve Oakland, and eventually, all the way to Sacramento. (Is this correct? If its not, I will edit it or correct me please!)

    The high speed authority chose the Pacheco pass alignment and many are not happy with this.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    The Altamont vs. Pacheco alignment could be the subject of a whole other thread. For those of you who are not familiar with the controversy (I favor the Pacheco pass option for very selfish reasons: my mother lives a couple of light rail stops down from the San Jose - Diridon Station and the Pacheco pass option would be much faster for me - I hope this explanation isn't too biased):
    I don't quite understand what you mean here - Diridon Station would have been included in the first phase regardless of which pass was chosen. The only difference is that not every train would have passed through San Jose. The Altamont would have served more people, would have cost less to build, and would have not gone through undeveloped areas. I'm at least happy that a Los Banos station was taken off the plans, but I still cannot see any way that a Pacheco-alignment is better, except in the eyes of the South Bay Transit Mafia (The half-joking name for the group of South Bay boosters - Mr. Diridon included - that feel that any project that does not go through downtown San Jose as much as is possible is a travesty and must be defeated). Caltrain operations will be affected adversely by the Pacheco alignment as well (though electrification will make the operations better than what currently exists).

    The high speed line would go north from Los Angeles through the Central Valley. The problem is how should the line turn west to go into the Bay Area. Because of the mountains, there are really only two options: A northern option through Altamont Pass, then the line splits after it gets to the west of San Francisco Bay, one line going north to San Francisco, one line south to San Jose. In the southern option (these are about 35 miles apart from each other), the line goes into San Jose on its way up the peninsula with a split going up the east bay to serve Oakland, and eventually, all the way to Sacramento. (Is this correct? If its not, I will edit it or correct me please!)

    The high speed authority chose the Pacheco pass alignment and many are not happy with this.
    Count me in that group, as I mentioned above. It's not so much that I dislike the Pacheco alignment, but more that the Altamont was superior in every way that we should be looking at (potential ridership, expense, and logistics).

    Your routing is a little bit incorrect though. There will be no split going to Oakland in any current plan - there is a future plan (as in, after Sac and San Diego are linked up), but we're talking decades. Regardless, the spur to Sacramento would not go through Oakland - it would either go over the Altamont (which will have to be built later) OR it will be a spur off of the main line near Merced - meaning a trip from SF to Sac would be through Merced. The Pacheco alignment (without a future Altamont spur being built) makes a Sac-SF trip almost as long as a SF-LA trip, despite the already high ridership on existing Amtrak lines between the Bay Area and Sac.
    Last edited by CJC; 08 Oct 2008 at 6:41 PM.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian safege's avatar
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    It makes my citizen effort to get a suspended rail demonstration project in St. Paul seem like a paltry sum. Coming in at 2 million to build, and roughly half what a light rail addition would cost.
    Psychotics are consistently inconsistent. The essence of sanity is to be inconsistently inconsistent.
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  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by CJC View post
    I don't quite understand what you mean here - Diridon Station would have been included in the first phase regardless of which pass was chosen. The only difference is that not every train would have passed through San Jose. .
    I admit my prejudices. The Pacheco Pass option would mean more trains to San Jose and it would be a shorter ride to Los Angeles from San Jose.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    All I can say is that any city that gets on this route will be a goldmine waiting to happen when the economy picks up. If someone from Bakersfield or a similar s-hole can commute to the Bay or LA, then you are going to see lots of new boom towns. Watch for speculators to back this bill.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RPfresh View post
    All I can say is that any city that gets on this route will be a goldmine waiting to happen when the economy picks up. If someone from Bakersfield or a similar s-hole can commute to the Bay or LA, then you are going to see lots of new boom towns. Watch for speculators to back this bill.
    SB 375 should help limit new sprawl housing at least. I'm hoping that Bakersfield and Fresno (plus some others, but those are the two biggies) will do some massive upzoning of the areas around their stations - not just the immediate area, but along several lines radiating from the stations.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian b3nr's avatar
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    Wow, the videos are certainly convincing. What's wrong with grand projects? They seem to have fallen out of favour. But some good points are made, Califronia is roughly the same size as France, or Japan or the UK & Ireland put together. If the population increases along the projections will soon have densities to match.

    The distances are perfect for highspeed rail. LA and SF are 400 miles apart, similar to the distance of London and Paris, which using the Eurostar (surprisingly cheap if you book ahead) are now 2 hr 15m apart. This has predictably entirely replaced the air route, as its much quicker, when you factor in transit to and from airports, check-in and security.

    California deserves this, its the world 6th biggest economy now isn't it?

  12. #12
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    View from the outside: I hope this goes ahead, but pushing it now has got to be the worst timing possible given the state of the economy. Infrastructure spending in the USA will be bled to nothing over the coming decades in the face of debt-servicing charges and the healthcare and social security burden of the baby boomers.

    It'd be nice to see, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    Sidenote: How on earth is this going to work with the grades in Cali? Extensive tunneling? If so, the $40 billion is a complete lie of an estimate for cost. Try tripling that.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne View post
    View from the outside: I hope this goes ahead, but pushing it now has got to be the worst timing possible given the state of the economy. Infrastructure spending in the USA will be bled to nothing over the coming decades in the face of debt-servicing charges and the healthcare and social security burden of the baby boomers.

    It'd be nice to see, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

    Sidenote: How on earth is this going to work with the grades in Cali? Extensive tunneling? If so, the $40 billion is a complete lie of an estimate for cost. Try tripling that.
    On the timing - I'm not quite sure this is a bad time. The focus is to push it as a job-creator and to stress the economic benefits. The timing now isn't as good as it was a few months ago with $5/gallon gas, but I stil don't think it's bad. My personal opinion is that the US (and each state) could do nothing worse than cut back on infrastructure spending (a capital investment that yields massive returns over time) while increasing spending on entitlements (which while necessary, do nothing but hamper economic growth). I really hope we don't fall into that downward spiral, and don't see it as likely. I think it's much more likely that social security, etc will be starved invisibly by government-created inflation.

    The dollar amount is only for the first phase - Anaheim to SF. The only tunneling in that phase is the entrance to the Bay Area and the entrance to the LA Basin. As soon as the route enters each metro, it will follow existing rights of way, though new trackage will be built. There will be a good amount of tunneling, but not as much as you may think - the Central Valley is incredibly flat and easy to lay track on. The LA-San Diego phase will be incredibly expensive because of all of the mountains, and the SF-Sac phase will likely include an expensive crossing of the Bay and more mountains, but those phases are not included in the $40 billion figure (even still, most people know full well that $40 billion is probably low by at least a third partially because that number is almost 5 years old).
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Ah--I did not grasp that the other phases were not budgeted into the $40 billion. Fair enough.

    I hope infrastructure spending continues, but I'm not sure that it will be as possible as it was a few months ago. A potential $1.8 trillion of new debt has just been added, on top of the doubling that took place over the past 8 years. That is a lot of debt to service.

    I'd probably be more likely to visit California as a tourist with this rail network in place... definitely would get me all over the state quite easily.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Latest poll shows this one coming down to the wire:

    http://www.examiner.com/r-3316558~Fi...r_Prop_1A.html
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  16. #16
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    So...any news on the vote?
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Let's not be didactic in this profession, because that is a path to disillusion and irrelevancy.

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  17. #17
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    With 92.3% of precincts reporting, the prop is up by more than 400,000 votes

    http://www.sfgate.com/election/races...rancisco.shtml

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/po...3859.htmlstory
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    passed

    So now that this prop passed, is Fresno going to be a suburb of LA?

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    By far the best method to combat high gas prices. Considering that California has one of the worlds largest economies and has some of the worst traffic in the U.S I'm surprised they don't have one already. However with the severe budget deficit looming on the horizon for California how is this going to be funded and payed for?

  20. #20
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by philipthegreat View post
    By far the best method to combat high gas prices. Considering that California has one of the worlds largest economies and has some of the worst traffic in the U.S I'm surprised they don't have one already. However with the severe budget deficit looming on the horizon for California how is this going to be funded and payed for?
    The CAHSR bond is separate from the CA general fund. I'm assuming/hoping that the remainder will be paid for by the Feds.
    Two wrongs don't necessarily make a right, but three lefts do.

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