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View Diary: Myth of the High Speed Rail "Boondoggle" (302 comments)

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  •  Well written, but a few comments.. (20+ / 0-)

    ...The difficulty with high speed rail in California is urban sprawl.

    I used to fly from the Bay Area to LA, Orange County and San Diego a lot on business and while SFO is a challenge due to incessant fog shutting down a runway flying out of San Jose is very easy and quick.

    Given traffic in SoCal there is a huge benefit from a business traveler's point of view being able to fly into Ontario, LAX, Burbank or John Wayne.

    The train will just drop one off in downtown LA.

    Rail works so well in Europe and Japan as one is going from one high density area to another and such high density areas often have local rail systems that one can connect to to get to a final destination.

    Again California is challenged by not having proper urban development.

    Amtrak on the East Coast has a nice relatively high speed line, but it loses money.

    So unclear that spending $70 billion will result in enough ridership.

    The project would definitely be a great stimulus for workers, but then one does have the debt to deal with after the fact.

    California is in a lot of economic trouble so unclear that this is the best use of state money at this time.

    "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

    by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:29:57 AM PDT

    •  Urban sprawl is a problem (21+ / 0-)

      I'm not as familiar with Los Angeles, as you used it as an example. But the HSR stops in San Francisco I think are very well placed, and San Francisco's density is much greater than the LA Basin. (With San Jose, I may just agree with you).

      But I think this argument is a good one to make to improve bus services in California. Buses are great for transit and the environment if dedicated lanes are constructed and efficient lines are drawn to maximize ridership.

      •  Agreed (6+ / 0-)

        So efforts have to exist to plan cities better in terms of new commercial real estate development.  For example, I would want more office space in downtown San Jose.

        This might serve to up the light rail ridership, which while cool is very under used.

        SF is definitely well laid out so CalTrain definitely should be electrified.  Imagine a 30-40 minute commute from Gilroy to SF.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:46:22 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Urban sprawl (16+ / 0-)

        won't stop until we start building mass transit, and we can't wait until the density is there to justify it.  If we wait until the density is there, the cost of building the supoorting infrasture is that much higher.

        Also L.A. is a suprisingly dense city.  (by American standards) and it's mass transit is far better than many think and getting better every year.

        The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"
        "America is a free speech zone."

        by Love and Death on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 12:07:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  LA isn't dense at all (0+ / 0-)

          It's an enormous sprawl.  NYC is dense.

          "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

          by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:30:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm intimately familiar with L.A. transit ... (9+ / 0-)

        ... and can state that a stop at Union Station is potentially a very good hub location, given Metro Transit improvements made recently or to be made in the near future.

        Out of Union Station one has access to the Metro Red Line (to North Hollywood or through downtown to the west side), and Gold Line (north to Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, and east to East L.A.). Planned extensions will connect the Red Line all the way to Santa Monica, and the Gold Line to Southbay. The Blue Line currently runs from a Red Line station at 7th Street downtown to Long Beach, close to the waterfront and convention center. The East-West mid-town Green Line is slated to (finally) connect directly to LAX and to Norwalk (the county's government offices). Other lines will serve East LA and extend further into the San Fernando Valley. MetroLink service (much like CalTrain) is available for those connecting to several neighboring counties, although it is probably either too expensive or too inconvenient for most casual or business travelers, as would be Amtrak service.

        Overall, the Los Angeles rail system has suffered from poor long-range planning; early lines were put in without clear consideration for broad useability, and the bus system is often nonsensical, or at least, not amenable to many business travelers. But, realistically, airports do not rely on the mass transit grid in most areas - travelers arriving at an airport frequently use private, taxi or rental cars to get to their ultimate destination. Judged along these lines, I'd say that HSR represents a very viable alternative, especially as hotels, restaurants and other businesses begin to focus on HSR hubs as development zones. The ripple-in-the-pond effect factors strongly in any new infrastructure investment, and HSR in other countries has been no exception.

        ---

        "The fundamental curse of the Republican party is its irrepressible disposition to meddle with other people's business, and impose its notions, and its will, on people who do not freely accept them." -- The New York Freeman's Journal, 1861

        by dzog on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 02:06:06 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Trains should not have to support themselves. (35+ / 0-)

      They're public-good subsidies, so people can get around efficiently without destroying everything.  Are we the only advanced country with this dumb Republican idea that everything should be "run like a business"?

      •  Sure, but.. (7+ / 0-)

        ...Not good if California goes bankrupt.  Would have been nice to see this started during the tech boom or other economic expansion.

        Not against high speed rail at all and in fact think it's a great way to travel.

        If it's built then LA should have connecting rail service in a spider web fashion around the area, but no idea what it would mean to get the land for this given the congestion.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 08:49:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Projects like these are a way (7+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          psyched, elfling, native, BusyinCA, ozsea1, Woody, BYw

          to get money into the economy.  And California is coming back, if we want that to keep going for the long term we need high speed rail.

          And you're right about more rail service in LA.  They need it desperately.  We've got BART and CalTrain up here in the Bay and it works great.

          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:19:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Except they also cost money (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            bcdelta

            The diary is totally missing any cost benefit analysis.

            How many riders do you expect per day?  What will they pay for tickets?  Will the high speed rail have a net operating profit or will it require continuing subsidies?  What will the total subsidy per ride be including the initial investment?

            If it turns out that the subsidy is $200 per ride and riders will pay $100 per ticket (when typical air fares are under $150) then this looks like a bad idea.

            If you assume an acceptable subsidy of $25 / ride then you need about 2.8 billion rides to cover the cost of just the initial investment... more when you take into account the fact that we are making the initial investment now but will get the rides many years later.

            If we want to recoup that over 10 years then we need 280MM rides per year or about 770,000 rides per day.  Is that realistic?  Seems like a lot of people to me unless you are expecting people to start living in SF and commuting to LA daily for work.

            •  Where are you folks when someone wants to build (0+ / 0-)

              a new freeway?

              There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:02:05 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well, I'm happy to do an analysis (0+ / 0-)

                in either case.

                But are you suggesting that we should make bad investments in high speed rail because we make bad investments in highways?

                Seems illogical.

                •  That was unfair of me (0+ / 0-)

                  But I've never seen people flip out over building more and more highways like I do over something as reasonable as more rail.

                  The one thing that everyone seems to be missing is that there are a lot of people who would much rather take the train as opposed to taking a plane, which will make this a successful route.  I would never, ever fly to LA and not having a car means that's not an option.  But if there's a train for a couple hundred bucks then it becomes a reasonable thing.  And that doesn't even count people who already commute to the bay area from the central valley that would now have quick public transit.

                  If you know of a better route for HSR, or have another way to get people to get out of their cars and out of planes then I'm all ears.

                  There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                  by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:10:12 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  So a train for a couple hundred bucks is a better (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    bcdelta

                    option?

                    I just did a quick check on Travelocity.  You can get round trip plane tickets for just $117.  That's total for the round trip.

                    So you would be willing to pay at least $400 to do a train round trip in preference to $117 for a round trip flight?!?

                    That may be reasonable for you - maybe you are afraid of flying - but do you think many other people will feel that way?

                    If you know of a better route for HSR, or have another way to get people to get out of their cars and out of planes then I'm all ears.
                    That's not the right question.  The right question is whether this is a feasible and cost effective project.  Based on what I can see, it isn't.
                    •  I was talking about a couple hundred round trip (0+ / 0-)

                      I would definitely pay more to take a train for a number of reasons.  First being that I wouldn't have to go through security, second being that I wouldn't have to get to and from the airport and instead would just go to the train station, which is far more convenient.  Not to mention that you can bring your bike on the train.

                      That's not the right question.  The right question is whether this is a feasible and cost effective project.  Based on what I can see, it isn't.
                      If you're concerned about global warming then getting people out of planes should be your first priority, simple as that.  And the project is completely feasible, regardless of whether you think it's cost effective.

                      There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                      by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:53:16 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  IF HSR is built (0+ / 0-)

                        You can bet the control freaks at TSA will put in security so it will be like going to the airport.

                        Going through security at SJC is easy anyway and you never have to wait on the tarmac - same for John Wayne, Ontario and Burbank.

                        I predict the cost of building the entire line will easily be $300 billion if it is true high speed.

                        I think central valley is being done first because this is the cheapest part of the construction.  The passes are going to be incredibly expensive unless you want the train slowing down to 50mph.

                        The main problem is the state is in so much financial trouble adding more expenses now takes away from other spending.

                        I do understand the long-term value of the train though, but this is only good if the state doesn't go bankrupt.

                        If you look at all the public spending in the 30s like CCC, TVA, etc. we didn't have much Federal debt and now we have a ton.

                        So huge projects aren't as easy now.

                        If you take the approach that we are going to devalue the currency then 30 year bond issues make sense because when you have to pay back the principal it's not much.

                        So if you advocate big infrastructure projects across the country funded by long-term bonds with the intent of devaluing the currency so the debt is more manageable then this is a different story.

                        But Europe, Japan and others would need to follow suit and it's very difficult to manage inflation so it doesn't go hyper like Weimar.

                        Also note with such an approach middle/lower class suffer as their salaries won't keep pace with inflation.

                        This being said I think inflating our way out of this mess is the only alternative to default, but again it's a path laden with mines.

                        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                        by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 10:33:09 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Why would this have more security (0+ / 0-)

                          on the train than regular trains?  There's just as much risk as there is with regular trains.

                          I think central valley is being done first because this is the cheapest part of the construction.  The passes are going to be incredibly expensive unless you want the train slowing down to 50mph.
                          I thought they were pretty explicit about the fact that the flat parts were being done first because they were the cheapest and the easiest, at least it seems like the best reason to do so.  This is only the second high speed line in the US so there's going to be a learning curve.

                          There are a lot of other long term problems you address but really they pale in comparison to global warming and the impending oil crisis.  Build this and people 30 years from now will be incredibly happy with it when they can't afford to drive to work anymore and have a home out where there's no work.  

                          There really isn't room to address the broader issues you bring up, and they are serious problems, but the key thing is remembering that not spending is going to be worse for us in the long run than spending, whether that means on education or high speed rail.  Obviously not on everything, but investing in our future is worth the risk.

                          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                          by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 11:29:21 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Well (0+ / 0-)

                            I think making Acela real high speed would make more sense because of the population densities.

                            I agree that the risk is the same on buses and trains, but a new high speed train would be a target and TSA is expanding operations to highways and other in keeping with their 1984 mentality.

                            There shouldn't be a learning curve if you use firms that have built HST in Europe or Japan.

                            With oil you are assuming EVs, hydrogen or other alt energy vehicles won't take off.

                            I agree with investing in the future and with a long term viewpoint out to 50 and even 100 years, but too much spending can collapse the state.

                            As for the CA HSR - go ahead and build it.  I don't live in CA so it won't affect me if the state goes under.

                            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                            by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 11:39:10 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Sigh (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            bcdelta
                            I agree that the risk is the same on buses and trains, but a new high speed train would be a target and TSA is expanding operations to highways and other in keeping with their 1984 mentality.
                            I really hate the fact that you're right on this one.  This country needs to get a damn grip on ourselves.  If we spent the money we spend on terrorism on transit we'd save a hell of a lot more lives.
                            With oil you are assuming EVs, hydrogen or other alt energy vehicles won't take off.
                            And I don't think they will.  The return on energy investment for all of those is high enough that it doesn't really make sense for personal transportation once you factor in the price of construction.  Not to mention the fact that we're going to have to find something new to build the actual roads out of given that we use oil for those too.  I expect we'll see small personal vehicles for people who have mobility issues and have problems with public transit, walking or cycling, but for the most part they'll be gone within 20-30 years.  I could be wrong but I think that's the likely scenario.  If that's the case then not having high speed rail, or at least some rail, would be devastating, especially given the exponential rise in airfare costs when oil is much more expensive.

                            For me the big thing with this is it being a replacement for air flights, that's the reason we need it.  Air travel is going to get a lot, lot more costly and it's already one of the most polluting ways to travel and there's not much we can do about that.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 11:55:24 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'll up you one here (0+ / 0-)

                            If we stopped it with war the money could be spent in any number of better ways.

                            If we controlled Wall Street we wouldn't have insane bubbles or the global economy teetering on a precipice.

                            If insurance, suing and pharma weren't so greedy it would be a lot easier to make care for all a reality.

                            We need to rethink our values as a society.

                            Lot's of great things are doable, but not with all the crooked politicians and greedy business people.

                            Imagine if California has 5% unemployment and no deficit spending and hell even a surplus.  Then the train is quite doable even if it needed a subsidy.

                            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                            by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 01:02:50 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  As for oil (0+ / 0-)

                            We spend $700 billion per annum on foreign oil.  Now if we went EV, hydrogen, etc. fully then that's a lot of additional money in the country that can be spent domestically.

                            Good for jobs, tax revenue, etc.  

                            You're also not giving money to countries that don't like you.  Case and point.  If Iran didn't have a market for their oil then they wouldn't have cash to build nukes and we wouldn't be staring at another potential war in the Middle East.

                            Plus if you get off oil Goldman can't manipulate the pricing and in this regard you control inflation.

                            Finally, no exhaust pollution or ocean spills.

                            Getting off oil is a matter of national security.  As for the environment not much sense in destroying the cradle that sustains all life.

                            Time to think a bit longer term.

                            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                            by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 01:09:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Because it is easier to derail a high speed train (0+ / 0-)
                            Why would this have more security
                            on the train than regular trains?  There's just as much risk as there is with regular trains.
                            and the consequences of a derailment are horrendous.
                          •  But being on a train actually would make (0+ / 0-)

                            it harder to derail than just throwing crap on the track.  And there's no way we can actually stop people from doing that without some crazy guard towers all up and down the tracks.  This country is just insane these days.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 04:13:09 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  A bomb on a train can cause a derailment (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Which is a lot harder to pull off than putting (0+ / 0-)

                            some stuff on the track.  You seem to be part of the American paranoia about bombs being the worst thing ever and the easiest way to do things.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 11:10:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm not sure that's true (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            AoT

                            Shit gets on tracks all the time and trains are designed to handle them.

                            A bomb going off that ruins the train's aerodynamic stability, damages the structural integrity of a car, or knocks the wheels just a little out of alignment is not a normal occurrence that trains are designed to handle.

                            If derailments are going to happen every time a tree branch ends up on the tracks I think we should cancel the whole project.  But I don't think that's likely.

                      •  You're going from SF to LA with your bike? (0+ / 0-)
                        Not to mention that you can bring your bike on the train.
                        Can we agree that this is not a common use case?
                        •  It's not the most important thing (0+ / 0-)

                          but it would certainly be nice.  But, I think we'd see a fair number of people doing the same if they were going to go down to SoCal for a day on the train.  People do this on Cal Train all the time.  A bike is a great last mile, or couple of miles, transit option when paired with a train.

                          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                          by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 11:27:58 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  So half the people on the train have bikes? (0+ / 0-)

                            No?  25%?  10%?  

                            Like I said, can we agree that this is not a common use case?

                          •  I'd say that starting out, based on current (0+ / 0-)

                            numbers of bike commuters and bike commuters that use CalTrain and BART I'd say 5% would be a pretty high number to shoot for if the train were to start running today.  Given that those number are increasing by a lot every year and HSR from LA to SF doesn't start running until 2026, I would say we could see about 15-20% use.  Which is a majority of users, but is pretty common.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 08:42:07 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I don't think you can assume that the same (0+ / 0-)

                            number of people will bring a bicycle on a train from SF to LA as do so on an ordinary commute.

                            When you are traveling that far you are often traveling for more than one day (so you have a bag or two), you are often on business (so you may be wearing a suit), and you are more likely to be higher income or traveling for your company and so less likely to be cost conscious about paying for a taxi or a rental car.

                          •  You're right about that, for sure (0+ / 0-)

                            We can't base future numbers for HSR strictly on current  commute numbers.  

                            When you are traveling that far you are often traveling for more than one day (so you have a bag or two), you are often on business (so you may be wearing a suit), and you are more likely to be higher income or traveling for your company and so less likely to be cost conscious about paying for a taxi or a rental car.
                            So, wearing a suit or having baggage does not at all preclude you from taking the train and riding a bike.  And if we assume a standard graph for the increase in price of gas then by 2026, when the full line between LA and SF is done, then we're looking at around, at the very least, $10 a gallon.  Assuming current rate of supply, which is unlikely.  So, if you work somewhere in the Bay Area and you have to go down to LA sometimes then it makes sense that you should take the train and ride.  Unless you're an idiot and can't figure out how to carry things on a bike.

                            Do you live in California?

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:16:22 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Does not preclude does not mean it is (0+ / 0-)

                            more likely.

                            So, wearing a suit or having baggage does not at all preclude you from taking the train and riding a bike.
                            Nope... but it sure as heck makes it less likely.

                            Try putting a garment bag on the back of a bike and then biking in summer in a suit to a business meeting and coming in sweating like a pig.

                            Not very workable.

                            And if we assume a standard graph for the increase in price of gas then by 2026, when the full line between LA and SF is done, then we're looking at around, at the very least, $10 a gallon.
                            You will have to point me to that standard graph.  Here's gasoline prices in constant dollars since 1918.  I'm not seeing the trend you seem to suggest.  http://inflationdata.com/....  What with shale oil and such I would be surprised if there is such a large increase.
                            So, if you work somewhere in the Bay Area and you have to go down to LA sometimes then it makes sense that you should take the train and ride.
                            Yes, because most people who travel from SF to LA on business are bike riders and don't mind getting their luggage to a hotel on a bike and then going from meeting to meeting on a bike lugging a laptop and maybe a briefcase on the back.

                            Can we get real?

                      •  Really? Why? (0+ / 0-)
                        If you're concerned about global warming then getting people out of planes should be your first priority, simple as that.  
                        Seems to me that my first priority should be whatever reduces GHG emissions the most per dollar sent.  Of course, that's because I treat global warming as an environmental problem to be solved, not a religious crusade to eliminate consumerist society.

                        Anyway, do you really think that a high speed train that will apparently be non-cost competitive with air travel on its main route is going to get a lot of people out of planes?

                        •  And your plan to eliminate air travel that's (0+ / 0-)

                          cheaper than high speed rail?  It doesn't exist.

                          There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                          by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 11:25:18 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  See? It's the religion again (0+ / 0-)

                            Why do I need to eliminate air travel?  There are other lower hanging fruit where a dollar spent will reduce more GHG than by cutting air miles flown.

                            It won't happen anyway - good luck on building a high speed rail from San Francisco to Singapore.

                          •  You conveniently ignore the problem (0+ / 0-)

                            of eliminating GHG emissions from air travel and instead accuse me of following some religion.  I ask again, what's the cheapest way other than HSR to eliminate flights between the Bay Area and SoCal?  Is there some solar powered aircraft I'm not aware of?  Would a fleet of zeppelins be cheaper?  What?

                            And as a reminder, part of the cost of this project includes the fact that it will run solely on alternative fuel sources which means those will need to be developed.  I don't know if the money is directly going toward that, but there's already a big push for it here in California.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 07:55:04 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Have you considered just praying to Gaea for help? (0+ / 0-)

                            Why shouldn't I ignore the problem or eliminating GHG emissions from air travel?

                            Do you have any evidence that that is the most cost effective way to reduce total GHG emissions versus, for example, eliminating zoning rules that limit urban density and high rise apartment buildings so we can reduce local commuting times?

                            Why are you so fixated on reducing air travel GHG instead of total GHG by whatever means works?

                            And as a reminder, part of the cost of this project includes the fact that it will run solely on alternative fuel sources which means those will need to be developed.
                            Well, that's another example of religious thinking replacing logical goal based planning.

                            Why should we spend money making sure one particular project runs on alternative fuel sources instead of just adding more alternative fuel sources to the overall energy grid wherever it is most cost efficient to do so?

                          •  So what's your solution for reducing (0+ / 0-)

                            GHG omissions from air travel?  Because it seems like it involves doing absolutely nothing.  Again, do you have a single fucking solution to the huge amounts of GHGs released from air travel or are you just going to continue on with your bullshit about religion?

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Wed Aug 22, 2012 at 06:08:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Inability to think about your assumptions is (0+ / 0-)

                            a hallmark of religion.

                            That is what we are seeing here.

                            To AoT, the need to reduce GHG emissions from air travel is a postulate, not a conclusion, and since it is faith based he is not able to logically analyze whether or not it is correct.

                            In actual fact, we need to reduce total GHG emissions in whatever way is most efficient.  I am not aware of any evidence that reducing air travel is a cost efficient way of reducing total GHG emissions.

                          •  That's a long winded way of saying that you have (0+ / 0-)

                            absolutely no plan for reducing GHG emissions from air travel.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 08:44:31 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Thank you for proving my point (0+ / 0-)

                            I suggest you spend your time worshiping at the Church of Gaiea. We're the reality based community.

                          •  If you aren't worried about GHG emissions (0+ / 0-)

                            from air travel then you are not in fact part of any reality based community.  Thank you for trolling.  And good job with the bullshit accusation of me being a part of some religion.

                            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                            by AoT on Thu Aug 23, 2012 at 10:41:56 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Note the walk back (0+ / 0-)

                            Suddenly issue is whether or not we should be worried about GHG, not whether or not we must have a plan to reduce them.

                            Actually, I'm not nearly as worried about aviation related GHG as I am about those from road transport.

                            See http://ec.europa.eu/... pages 4 and 9.  Air transport produces about 1/6 as much GHG as road transport and all transportation together produces only 2/3 as much GHG as energy production and about as much as industrial operations.

                            So why are you so fixated on air travel?

                            And good job with the bullshit accusation of me being a part of some religion.
                            Well, you seem to have this religious fixation on air travel GHG that is not related to any logic or evidence and not susceptible to fact based analysis.  

                            If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

              •  Well new freeways (0+ / 0-)

                will be used.  And building mass transit in urban areas is quite different than HSR SF to SD.

                "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:34:38 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And I'm expected to subsidize the (0+ / 0-)

                  destruction of the environment just because people love their cars.  Forgive me if I'm still not happy about that.  If people spent as much time worried about the actual costs of building a freeway as they do about the what ifs of something we require if we're going to mitigate global warming.  Of course, when people build freeways they only have to take into account the next 5 years so it always look like a good plan.

                  There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                  by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:24:04 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  ROI is definitely.. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Wham Bam

              ...the issue here.  I have also read that the train will go more slowly on the peninsula and near LA + part of keeping costs down is not using rails in areas that enable high speed.

              Suggested that it would be 3 hours and 40 minutes to LA.

              So slower means less reason to ride.

              And like you said how much does it cost?

              No point in building it if you don't get the ridership - better to repave roads or build new solar utilities or other.

              The technology is certainly cool and I would love to see it, but I don't think one can be so cavalier with so much money.

              "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

              by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:55:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You are leaving out other costs in this "analysis" (0+ / 0-)

              You must be against any public investment that doesn't recoup the initial investment, right?

              The problem is that this type of calculation leads to poor decisions. Either not investing in transit or investing in alternatives (air and freeways) also has costs involved, which are high and will get higher in the future. Many things we invest in do not pay for themselves with tickets, but have other associated benefits that make them worthwhile in the long-term, both to local economies and to human well-being. So where do these other comparative costs and benefits of rail fit into your analysis?

              Hopefully you'll rerun the numbers with better data.

          •  Silicon Valley's (0+ / 0-)

            problem is more and more tech jobs go to China, India and neighboring states.

            Don't know how high speed rail is going to change this.

            As for LA don't know.

            And the more debt California has the higher the taxes have to be to pay for it.  Too much tax drives companies and people out of the state.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:02:26 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  For one, rail makes cost of living cheaper (0+ / 0-)

              because people can work in SV and live a ways away and still have a convenient commute.  You go 30 miles inland and cost of living drops drastically.

              And the more debt California has the higher the taxes have to be to pay for it.  Too much tax drives companies and people out of the state.
              California isn't raising taxes significantly any time soon and the idea that taxes are a major reason for people leaving a state is something I find terribly unlikely.  With companies I expect it's more of an issue, but even then, Apple isn't in Cupertino because it's cheap.

              There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

              by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:15:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Apple (0+ / 0-)

                can afford to be in Cupertino given all their slave labor at Foxconn in China.

                And a lot of Silicon Valley companies are expanding operations outside of California - TX, AZ, UT, OR, etc.

                As for people commuting from outside of Silicon Valley - this represents building rail service for an urban area.

                I know people that commute from Stockton and Sac, but not many from Merced or Fresno.

                In truth the central valley portion of the line will be the cheapest to build.  What's expensive will be the passes, peninsula and LA.

                "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 10:14:53 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  If California's tax system isn't fixed, I think (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elfling, native, ozsea1, Woody, BYw

          California is going to be screwed with or without the rail system. They are unable to maintain the education system as it is.
               The rail system is critical to move the state into a modern transportation system. Without it, their only choice is to continue expanding the freeway system, & the roadways are already at an untenable level of complexity & congestion.

          -7.25, -6.26

          We are men of action; lies do not become us.

          by ER Doc on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:21:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  There is one hell of a lot of money (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ozsea1, Woody, BYw, Calamity Jean

            flowing through California. If the state can't siphon off enough to support itself, and then some, there is indeed something wrong with its tax structure.

            "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

            by native on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:56:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  In urban areas (0+ / 0-)

            the highways are crowded, but the 5 in the central valley is fine.

            So better to start with better train systems in Bay Area and LA first if goal is to reduce traffic.

            "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

            by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:56:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  The project was proposed more than 10 years ago (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          and the legislature first approved putting the bond on the ballot almost 10 years ago. The bond actually appeared on the 2008 ballot after years of delay.

          Projects that large take years of planning and replanning, especially under the current political environment where it is easier to say no and that we want to have answers to all possible impacts before construction.

          If we say no, the project would likely be delayed for another 10 years in the minimum. It would make the project more difficult as cities and other property owners start to build things that would conflict with the HSR route. The economy would be just as hard to predict.

          Even though the project is expensive, I don't think there's a real trade off to other state priorities. The state isn't going to need the bond money all at once, because construction will take place in multiple years. Also part of the cost will be coming from the federal government. We have to remember that schools and such are ongoing operating costs. Even if we kill HSR the money saved isn't going to keep the schools throughout the state running much longer.

      •  Strange that this argument (37+ / 0-)

        is never raised with respect to freeways, which definitely do not support themselves at all!

        Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

        by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 10:43:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On the East Coast they do.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hmi

          ...Because we have a lot of toll roads.  This way the end users pay for them.  Given how the interstate system was set-up I don't think one is allowed to put tolls on freeways that were built by the Feds in the 50s and thereafter.

          As for freeways in California - how much of the gas tax goes into them or other roads/bridges?

          At any rate, roads are heavily used so the investment makes sense.

          Will HSR be heavily used?   I guess we will find out.

          Again not opposed to  it just think it is being undertaken in a very bad economic environment and in doing so will hurt all other necessary services and infrastructure in the state.

          "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

          by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:08:21 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Not all that many toll roads (8+ / 0-)

            A lot more of the highways are true freeways (no pay on or off), and people who can avoid the toll roads do so. The usual result is a vicious circle in which tolls are jacked to make up for the lost revenues, resulting in more people avoiding the toll roads, resulting in more toll increases, lather rinse repeat, until it costs more to man the toll booths than they receive in revenue - at which point the toll booths go away. The classic example is Connecticut's Merritt Parkway, which gave up collecting tolls in 1988 because it was losing money on them because it was losing too much traffic to the parallel (toll-free) I-95.

            If it's
            Not your body,
            Then it's
            Not your choice
            And it's
            None of your damn business!

            by TheOtherMaven on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:32:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              banjolele, hmi

              NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway are cash cows as are all the bridges between NY/NJ.

              And the toll increases are annoying, but it doesn't seem to stop heavy usage.

              "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

              by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:47:40 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What's the alternative? We need trains. We need (10+ / 0-)

                modern (Latin-American style) busses.

                CA needs to raise taxes.  All else is bs.  Reagan is still strangling his state, years after his death and many years after he (& CA Republicans) lost their minds.

                •  Prop 13 (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Calamity Jean

                  which is very popular has robbed the state of a lot of tax revenue, but unclear that this would be voted away.

                  "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                  by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:07:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  without citizens united (7+ / 0-)

                    We could at least roll it back to no longer apply to commercial property.  

                    With CU, I'm not sure we could do even that.

                    The world will end not with a bang, but with a "Do'oh!"
                    "America is a free speech zone."

                    by Love and Death on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:37:18 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Unclear why commercial stuff (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Calamity Jean

                      is protected under prop 13.  I bet HP in Palo Alto has a huge tax break on their huge campus.

                      I wonder if they would leave the Bay Area if their taxes went up?

                      "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                      by bcdelta on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:53:47 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  The additional problem with Prop 13, as I (9+ / 0-)

                        understand it, is that the smart companies immediately transferred their real property to a holding company so that they can sell the holding company rather than the property itself and then they can even sell that property freely by selling the holding company but the taxes stay at their 1970s level.    Of course, Joe Homeowner, who was alleged to be the primary beneficiary under Prop 13, finds that sort of arrangement to be infeasible.  I could live with Prop 13 applying to homeowners, though I still think that it artificially inflates the value of residential real estate in California, but having it apply to businesses who are able to abuse the process that way really should be unacceptable.  Odds are, knowing who the proponents were, maybe that enormous commercial property loophole was intentional.

                        "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

                        by auron renouille on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 02:26:48 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  It was protected because the people who wrote it (5+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        ozsea1, hooper, BYw, AoT, Calamity Jean

                        had that as their primary goal. They only included homeowners as a sweetener.

                        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                        by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:49:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Doubt citizens united matters (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      ozsea1

                      California initiatives already allowed unlimited corporate contributions.

                      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                      by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:48:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

              •  An Illustration (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1, AoT

                My drive, about 30 miles from Brooklyn, out to see mom in NJ. My usual route requires the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel ($4.80-$6.50) in one direction, then the Turnpike ($2.45) and the Holland Tunnel ($9.50-$12) in the other. Alternatively, I can take the Bayonne Bridge ($7.50-$12) instead of the turnpike and tunnel. If I go out via the Verrazano Bridge, it's $9.60-$13. [prices depend on when I travel and how I pay].

                So, as a rough guesstimate, each roundtrip costs about $17 in tolls (plus the taxes on gas). Plus the highway portion of other taxes I pay. I can actually shave that down to possibly as little as $9.75, but (except in the dead of night) at the cost of adding about 30 minutes to the 60-minute trip out and maybe 15 to the trip back. There is no option that avoids tolls entirely without adding many miles and about 90 minutes to the trip.

                •  And the west coast, especially California (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  ozsea1

                  has a lot more miles of highway, so we get less all around.  We just have bridge tolls, and normally that mean $5 for a days commute.  

                  There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                  by AoT on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:25:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Australia has toll roads but no booths (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BusyinCA, ozsea1, Woody, BYw

              You need an account linked to a credit or debit account to drive on the road. No transponders either. Cameras read your license plate.

              The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

              by Anne Elk on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:26:34 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Same is true now (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ozsea1, Woody, TexasTom

                in South Florida and in Texas, at least around DFW.

                Still enjoying my stimulus package.

                by Kevvboy on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 03:31:18 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And it doesn't work very well... (0+ / 0-)

                  ...lots of problems with people not being billed, and those who are billed just not paying.  The problem isn't with those who have the linked accounts, but with those who don't -- and who are supposed to receive a bill in the mail if they use the tollroads.

                  I don't know how it's working in Australia, but here in North Texas, I'd call the boothless tollroads a failure.

                  Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                  by TexasTom on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:19:21 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  EZ Pass Transponder tolls (0+ / 0-)

                    work from Maine to Virginia and work very well.

                    "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

                    by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:43:18 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

          •  Amtrak California's San Joaquin service (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            psyched, Sychotic1, AoT, ozsea1, BYw

            is already heavily used. Not a lot of empty seats when I've ridden it, and that's just a boring slow train.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:16:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Oh, and its end destination is Bakersfield! :-) nt (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ozsea1, BYw

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:50:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  And there is a reason for that. (0+ / 0-)

                There is no practical rail route from the Central Valley to Southern California.  Not in the last 130 years has one been built...low speed, or high speed.  The BEST route currently goes up over Tehachepi Pass, through some 15 mph curves, and around the famous Tehachepi Loop, which doubles back over itself to gain altitude.  Then it zips across the desert, and churns down steep and winding Cajon Pass.

                California has more difficult geography than the East Coast.  I am a HUGE proponent of light rail, and high speed rail, and rail in general.  And I have voted against this project three times, now, in my lifetime...two for "feasability studies" (both of which decided it still wasn't), and then the actual building.  If they can find a way to do it, I'm all for it, will use it, will promote it, and will cite it as a positive example for other states to follow.

                But I'm pretty sure they won't.

                When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

                by Bisbonian on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:24:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Passenger rail can do steeper grades (0+ / 0-)

                  so they don't have to do the loop in Tehachapi. The route then goes down through Palmdale and then Soledad Canyon back to Santa Clarita and then the San Fernando Valley.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 10:06:28 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Depending on the equipment, it certainly can. (0+ / 0-)

                    Especially so called "Light Rail".  But I can't find any "High Speed Rail" routes around the world with steep grades or tight curves.  Again...I'll rejoice if this somehow manages to be the first.

                    When banjos are outlawed, only outlaws will have banjos.

                    by Bisbonian on Sat Aug 25, 2012 at 04:54:33 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Right, but will HSR be (0+ / 0-)

              heavily used if a lot more expensive?

              "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

              by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:43:59 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  "not opposed to it" concern noted (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            BYw, AoT

            again.

            We get it.

            Next.

            "No man is rich enough to buy back his past." ~ Oscar Wilde

            by ozsea1 on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 06:32:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I do. I raise that issue all the time. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bcdelta, Mindful Nature, Sychotic1, BYw

          Cities like Portland actually put zoning fences around themselves, something CA and various other cities have never done. And what you get is an urban sprawl that cannot be served adequately by any system - rail or freeway.

          The universe may have a meaning and a purpose, but it may just specifically not include you.

          by Anne Elk on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:24:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  In fact (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            shaharazade, AoT, elfling, BYw

            the limits to growth on San Francisco itself is part of what has turned it into such a vibrant city.  Expansion isn't an option, really.  

            Of course, that lack of zoning is a conscious effort on the part of powerful interests.  Tide may be turning though.

            Courtesy Kos. Trying to call on the better angels of our nature.

            by Mindful Nature on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:47:15 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Imagine how much less interesting (0+ / 0-)

              San Francisco would be with a Caltrans-special concrete-and-rebar span from Marin to SF.

              I think that bridge probably doubles property values.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 05:19:44 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Considering the way that... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT

              ...San Francisco has priced out working and middle class people, I can't really consider it to be a successful example of urban policy.  Unless we consider creating vibrant playgrounds for the upper class to be a desirable urban policy.

              Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

              by TexasTom on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:25:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's looking more and more like that's (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                TexasTom

                where more and more cities are moving.  Gentrification is the new norm.

                There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 07:06:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  And while that's a marginally preferable... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  ...outcome to having dead downtowns and vast urban slums, it's a shame that we can't find some sort of balance.

                  Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                  by TexasTom on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:12:35 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  One of my worries is that we'll end up (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    TexasTom

                    like France where the slums are the suburbs.  It's very worrying for the future.

                    There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                    by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:16:29 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Danger is there... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      AoT

                      ...but perhaps not as high as in Europe.  I've not been to France, but I have been to Italy and have to say that the suburbs surrounding Rome are some very depressing places -- anyone who has a choice is going to choose to live somewhere else.  U.S. suburbs really are pretty liveable by comparison.

                      That said, there is the risk of the slummification of our suburbs.  That risk is particularly high in some of the exurbs that were dramatically overbuilt during the housing bubble and suffered from massive foreclosures and many vacant houses as a result.

                      Another worry is that some of the close in suburbs have become poorer in recent years -- shunned by buyers who choose to either live in the city or to go to areas with newer homes.  Old suburbs can get lost in the shuffle.  Fortunately, I suspect that this will turn out to be a temporary trend and that many (hopefully most) close in suburbs will ultimately redevelop in a favorable way.

                      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

                      by TexasTom on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:49:08 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Portland besides (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT, ozsea1, Woody, hooper, BYw

            urban boundaries, has light rail transit  which is being expanded to outlying areas replacing slow bus roots.. The burbs included. Just because all urban sprawl can't be served adequately doesn't mean that cities can't develop over time rail systems that serve commuters and develop public transportation systems that ease the choked freeways. We have to start somewhere and developing transportation methods that are sustainable and not carbon based is a great way to start. It's also a good public 'job creator' . We as a nation need to rethink the infrastructure of our communities and our land  development.  

          •  The trade off is... (0+ / 0-)

            ...that those urban boundaries seem to drive the cost of housing upwards.  

            At the extreme, you have San Francisco, which is outrageously expensive -- and I don't consider it to be successful urban policy if one of the results is to price middle class and working people out of the city.

            Rather than urban boundaries, I would prefer to see a system that would assess impact fees on developers based on density and proximity to existing developments.  What this would mean is that a development that is adjacent to existing urban/suburban developments would have a lower fee than one that is five miles out past the middle of nowhere.  Similarly, developments that proposed large lots would be assessed higher fees.

            This might have the effect of encouraging infill development without driving housing prices up to outrageously high levels.

            Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

            by TexasTom on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 09:24:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed but by taxes as opposed to bonds. (0+ / 0-)

        The bonds are increasing the price and redistributing the payments to the next gen.

        Let all Bush tax cuts expire and , bring on the Sequestration cuts to defense.

        by kck on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 02:31:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Roads don't support themselves either. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        hooper, BYw

        I'd much rather have a train or better bus service than another two lanes of freeway gridlock.

        Mitt's full of it / Ryan's lyin' -- "Your money and your life."

        by BusyinCA on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 05:36:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Strangely... (10+ / 0-)

      .....I think getting dropped off in downtown is a good idea. Despite the presence of the Burbank Airport, I'd say downtown and the SG Valley are badly underserved and could really use HSR.

      The best parallel for distance and population is the Madrid/Seville line, which has GREAT utilization.

      No one ever created a vibrant economy by building houses for each other. Houses are built because there is a vibrant economy.

      by Doug in SF on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:25:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  More than one station (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Woody

        There will be stations in Burbank and Sylmar as well.

        Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat it.

        by enigmamf on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 12:30:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  With so many stations how can the trains go fast? (0+ / 0-)

          If they have to keep stopping and starting you don't really have a high speed rail any more.

          Rail is great when city geometries work.  For example, I frequently use the through train from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.  It has three stops - Hong Kong Hung Hom, Dongguan, and Guangzhou.  Works like a charm because those are the key population centers and you can use taxis (or sometimes bus in HK) from them to wherever you are going.

          But if you need stop after stop after stop it just becomes pointless - takes too long.

      •  Downtown LA is far better served by rail (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        side pocket, psyched, ozsea1, Woody, BYw

        than by any of the airports. LAX is about an hour away, and Burbank maybe 30-40 minutes most of the time.

        Not counting the time looking for parking once you get to LA proper. :-)

        There's quite a congregation of offices and apartments around Union Station now.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:19:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I needed to go (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bcdelta, bnasley, Caelian

      from Amsterdam to Eindhovan in The  Netherlands.  What makes the trains there work is that they connect to good city rail.  So I took a train to the main station, and I could, if needed, connect.  In Europe one is very depending on the other, which is why it works.

      Building one without the other in the US strikes me as a significant risk.  Given the damage being done to the California higher Ed system, I am not sure this is the best use of money.

      The bitter truth of deep inequality has been disguised by an era of cheap imported goods and the anyone-can-make-it celebrity myth - Polly Toynbee

      by fladem on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 11:29:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  California higher ed will get a lot of benefit (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psyched, AoT, Woody, BYw

        because the route through the Central Valley will serve many CSU (and UC) campuses, making them much more accessible to cities and to airports and for students. It will be a quick hop to travel between CSU Fresno and CSU Bakersfield or UC Davis. Students will be able to go home for weekends without having to drive themselves. Researchers will be more able to collaborate; high school students will be more able to visit.

        In addition, there's nothing quite like having an engineering wonder to generate interest in invention and technology. Just ask the nice people at JPL. :-)

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:22:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I sure the students in UC (0+ / 0-)

          would prefer lower tuition costs after all the budget cuts before having HSR.

          "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

          by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:48:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tuition has been skyrocketing for 25 years (0+ / 0-)

            It's not HSR that's the problem.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 10:22:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Right (0+ / 0-)

              I was talking about how the strapped state govt. cut subsidies to the UC system.  The cost of ever increasing education does need to be addressed nationally.

              But I bet when you try to do this teacher's and other unions will fight you tooth and nail.  Probably business as well that makes money off of universities.

              "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

              by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 10:35:43 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  We have to start somewhere with transit (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, Woody, BYw, rosarugosa

        and this is a good as anything.  The only solution for Higher Education is to raise taxes.  At some point there will be a large enough Dem majority in the legislature to do that.  Really, we need to get rid of prop 13 if we want a reasonable future.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 04:37:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or see where the state (0+ / 0-)

          is wasting money, cut the waste and then put some of the saved money back into the UC system.

          And California like all states wastes a ton of money.

          If you raise taxes too much people will leave the state further dropping tax revenue.

          "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

          by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:50:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tax rates have a fairly small (0+ / 0-)

            effect on people leaving the state.  People don't live in the Bay Area because of the great prices.

            And really, nothing is going to get fixed until we deal with prop 13.  We can't have a reasonable budget if companies are paying virtually nothing in property taxes.  Part of the reason for the stupid high property prices is that there are no property taxes pushing them down.

            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:06:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Agreed on Prop 13 (0+ / 0-)

              "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

              by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 09:46:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Not sure if you've actually looked at the route (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gffish, elfling, psyched, Woody, BYw

      ... But there will be far more stations than there are airports - ten around the Southland (LA/Riverside) area.

      And, LA's connecting commuter routes (light rail and Metrolink) do a pretty good job at connecting the rest of the metroplex to those stations.

      Those who ignore the future are condemned to repeat it.

      by enigmamf on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 12:28:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wouldn't be an issue (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      psyched, Woody, BYw, AoT, rosarugosa

      If it went hand-in-hand with an expansion of the LA Metro, which is what they're trying to do.  You would be able to take the subway or the Metrolink from Union Station to wherever you needed to go, and get there much faster than you would by sitting in traffic on the freeways.

    •  On Amtrak losing money (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, bcdelta, AoT, smartguy11, ozsea1, BYw

      You wrote: Amtrak on the East Coast has a nice relatively high speed line, but it loses money.

      By "it" do you mean the Acela, or Amtrak altogether?

      Acela actually makes money.  Amtrak as a whole loses buckets of money, in large part because they are providing unprofitable long-haul passenger rail service that isn't competitive with either bus or air travel.  The niche of rail is medium-distance travel, not cross country trips.  Rail does well on routes where a train can be as fast as (or nearly so) a plane flight (including time spent on ground), but without all the hassles of air travel.  For longer trips (>800miles with HSR), air travel will be more lucrative; and for budget travelers, you can't beat the bus.

      Note that CAHSR is well within the sweet spot for high-speed rail.

      In many ways, Amtrak is rural pork to places such as North Dakota.

    •  But do you need to do everything at once... (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bcdelta, psyched, ozsea1, Woody, BYw

      I would suggest that HSR will regenerate the areas that it serves revitalising downtowns, and thus creating demand for feeder services. That at least is the experience in Europe.

      As for the question of debt in CA, a tricky one, albeit one of CA voters own making to some extent given your tax straitjacket, but if you view this as an investment in the future; an opportunity to reshape infrastruture and the fabric of places, to network the economy, then would it not be worth it?

      The example I know best is Lyon whose economy and city transport has benefited so much from a 2hr TGV ride from Paris - that interconnection is a boon for tourism and the broader business economy. There will be those who talk of videoconferencing in the latter context but it is a poor substitute for the face to face.

      •  There are many more trips I would make (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        psyched, ozsea1, Woody, BYw

        and money that I would spend, if I could get to southern California and back by rail quickly enough to turn it around in a day.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:25:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very easy to do this by flying now. (0+ / 0-)

          While I prefer going for a few days I have done a bunch of day trips to LAX, John Wayne, etc. - very easy.

          "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

          by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:52:45 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  As it happens, I am using Amtrak already (9+ / 0-)

      to commute between northern and southern California.

      It's not the case at all that Downtown LA is your only stop. In addition to all the rail stops (there's one in the Anaheim stadium parking lot quite convenient to Disneyland), Amtrak has a fleet of buses that extends its range in all directions.

      As it happens, I am not near an airport, nor is my typical Southern California destination. By the time I drive to an airport bus, board the airport bus, wait for my flight, fly, then take an airport shuttle to my final destination, I've spent far more time (and often more money) on the ground than I have in the air. So a 1 hour air trip actually takes me about 6 hours or a bit more to complete by the time all the schedules and slack and waiting come together.

      As it happens, both my endpoints are near Amtrak-served locations. I can take a bus just 20 minutes from my house to Amtrak, and arrive by train 10 minutes from my final destination. The total trip takes around 9 hours, costs less than I paid for ground-only transport for my air travel, and for most of it I can sit and work productively.

      Once it's train all the way from the Bay Area to LA, it will be profoundly better; once the HSR is running the full length, it will be much faster than my doorstep to doorstep for air travel, as well as being more convenient.

      There's less sprawl in California than you might realize... and the way to turn it around is to have options like high speed rail so that you don't need acres of parking for every possible destination, and so that people have a reason to colocate walking distance from a train station.

      No one, anywhere, is walking distance from an airport.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 01:15:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Your point is excellent (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elfling

        but I will let you know that here in Key West, I can walk to the airport, and I do unless it's raining!  (We also have a good bus system that will take me there, but mostly I ride my bike....)

        Still enjoying my stimulus package.

        by Kevvboy on Mon Aug 20, 2012 at 03:33:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  there are a ton of problems with this proposal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bcdelta

      1) the initial investment: They are buidling the line in central california. WTF? We start with a bakersfield line? There will be zero ridership.

      2) Cost is now projected over $100B, and almost double what it was estimated when voters approved the project.

      3) A line between Northern California and Southern california is crazy. Its just too far and the airplane is a much better option.

      What would make sense? A high speed line between Los Angeles and San Diego with a stop in Orange County in Between in between and A bay area line with stops in San Jose, SF, etc.

      That would get people out of their cars and lined up because it would be by far the most efficient way to get there.

      There is no way high speed rail between LA and SF or sacramento will every replace airplane travel.

      •  Get up to speed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BYw, AoT, elfling

        To properly test the new high-speed system, trains and all the rest, they were required to build a test track of some length. So they put the test track in the Central Valley where there is some flat, open space and less congestion. That way they get twice the use out of it, first as test track, then as the Initial Operating Segment.

        And until the middle section is extended to the big cities, no fool can say, "This is enuf, let's stop here." Whereas building a segment reaching out from one of the big cities would have opened the door to the long-distance HSR being aborted and the completed right of way used for a glorified commuter train.

        If we gave up on every construction project likely to come in over budget, we could fulfill Grover Norquist's dream of drowning the government in the bathtub. Of course cost estimates are always changing, as engineering proceeds and guesstimates become solid estimates. The current estimates will change again, probably every year, sometimes revised up again, and other times down again.

        Railroads are high volume operations. HSR has been most successful between large population centers. If it only runs between Bakersfield and Fresno, there is not enuf population base to justify the investments. But the millions of people in the L.A. Basin and the Bay Area will certainly fill the trains, no worries.

        •   (0+ / 0-)

          The state government can't have voters approve a project for $60B and then two years later say, oops its actually $120B. That has nothing to do with Grover, it has to do with having a responsible professional government that is truthful with its citizens when it puts things to a vote.

          The distance between Northern California and Southern California population centers is too great, with too few people in between to justify high speed rail between the two when air travel is cheaper and quicker. What makes the most sense is two high speed rail projects: One That connects the Southern California Counties (Riverside, San Bernardino, LA, Orange, San Diego) and another that connects the Northen California Area (SF, Oakland, San Jose, Sacremento etc)

          Those would get heavy usage.

        •  Actually you need to get up to speed (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody

          The reason the first leg is in the central valley is because Blue Dog Democratic Rep. Jim Costa demanded that in exchange for his vote for Pres. Obama's health care reform bill. It has nothing to do with it being the right place to be. It is a payback for his support of healthcare reform, and the wrong action for the state. From the LA Times:

          "But the Obama administration has threatened to withdraw the $3.3 billion in federal money if dirt doesn't begin flying first in the San Joaquin Valley. That's largely because of a commitment to Rep. Jim Costa, a moderate Blue Dog Democrat from Fresno, according to several Democratic sources who requested anonymity.

          They say Costa voted for the president's healthcare reform after being assured that rail construction would begin in his district."

          The state government can't have voters approve a project for $60B and then two years later say, oops its actually $120B. That has nothing to do with Grover, it has to do with having a responsible professional government that is truthful with its citizens when it puts things to a vote.

          The distance between Northern California and Southern California population centers is too great, with too few people in between to justify high speed rail between the two when air travel is cheaper and quicker. What makes the most sense is two high speed rail projects: One That connects the Southern California Counties (Riverside, San Bernardino, LA, Orange, San Diego) and another that connects the Northen California Area (SF, Oakland, San Jose, Sacremento etc)

          Those would get heavy usage. Once those lines get heavy usage and prove their worth, you build the connector if it appears there wll be usage. Currently, the best case for how they are building the train is a connection between LA and SF in a little under 3 hours. And that is best case. A plane takes 50 minutes.

          •  A real world example (0+ / 0-)

            Let's look at the real world experience in Spain. There a HSR line that opened in 2007 has knocked the planes from the skies between Madrid and Barcelona. The trains carry about 6 million passengers a year. (That figure includes more than a million examples of "induced demand" from people who would not have made the trip at all before the quick trips at reasonable prices became available.)

            The AVE trains have more than 80% of the air/passenger train market. (Iberia operates now in the airport-to-airport segment of the market, not really much in the city-to-city market. Its puddle-jumper flights are largely for passengers connecting to long flights from the hubs. And Ryan Air flies no frills for those who can stand it.)

            The AVE's distance from center city Madrid to center city Barcelona is 386 miles. One-stop trains take 2 hours 30 minutes, those with many local stops, 3 hours. The route has 17 departures a day. (Trips by car take 6 hours.)

            Madrid has a population of roughly 3.3 million (with nearly 6.2 million in its metropolitan area); Barcelona has 1.6 million people (nearly 4.5 million in the metro area).

            The CaHSR distance between L.A. and SF will be 438 miles and the goal is to do it in 2 hrs 38 min. (Yes, the technology of HSR continues to advance, and ever higher speeds are possible.)

            The population of Los Angeles is 3.8 million (with about 13 million in the L.A.-Long Beach-Santa Ana area); San Francisco has 800,000 and San Jose has almost 1 million, for a total  1.8 million (with a combined 7.4 million in the SF-SJ-Oakland metro area).

            So compare core cities in Spain 4.9 million, with core cities in California 5.6 million. Distance in Spain 386 miles in 2 hours 30 minutes, distance in California 438 miles in 2 hours 38 minutes.

            Relax and enjoy the ride. HSR will be a smashing success in California, as it is in Spain -- and everywhere else in the world.

            •  Because of the political reworking of the route (0+ / 0-)

              Much of it will be sharing track with Amtrack, which means it won't be high speed, and there is not a direct LA to SF route. It is being routed away for political payback. There will not be a train route less than 3 hours, and I would bet you when its all said and done it will be closer to 3 and half hours.

              Folks need to do a little more research on what is actually going on here before they support a $100,000,000,000 investment by a state that has a structural operating deficit of $20,000,000,000 a year.

    •  Actually the Acela is profitable (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BYw

      It's one of the few amtrak lines to turn a profit

      •  HSR is way more expensive than Acela (0+ / 0-)

        to build and maintain.  So how profitable it is depends on costs vs revenue.

        Acela is pricey, but flying NY to DC or Boston is also expensive like $400 round trip.

        Bay Area to LA is way cheaper flying like $100-200.

        "And there are those who give and know not pain in giving, nor do they seek joy, nor give with mindfulness of virtue; They give as in yonder valley the myrtle breathes its fragrance into space" Khalil Gibran

        by bcdelta on Tue Aug 21, 2012 at 08:56:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Downtown LA has a strong rail connection (0+ / 0-)

      throughout the region. There's also plenty of freeways too.

      http://www.transitunlimited.org/...

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