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View Diary: Sunday Train: California HSR Receives Cap & Trade Funding in Budget Deal (54 comments)

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  •  I Have Supported Passenger Rail - - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RainyDay

    Probably far before you got out of high school.
    But the California High Speed Rail project -
    Is a giant boondoggle - which will only harm passenger rail.

    Fresno is hardly New York City, Washington, DC, or Boston.
    Even if the whole system could be built out quickly  to LA and SF -
    The numbers are highly questionable - -
    Passenger load, pricing, costs.

    But a segment from Fresno to Bakersfield?
    Two small cities where cars are worshipped??
    My hope is that construction does not begin -
    Because the more done the greater the harm.

    •  I see assertions (0+ / 0-)

      but no actual arguments and evidence. Keeping in mind the crucial importance of shifting from fossil-fuel based transportation to electricity produced by solar/wind/geothermal in order to blunt the negative impact of the climate change already underway, I can't see that this could possibly be the boondoggle you describe, but OK I am willing to consider your position. Where is the detailed analysis comparing California HSR to other alternatives? Write a diary presenting your case...if you have one.

      "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

      by Reston history guy on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 12:11:33 PM PDT

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      •  Ummmm - (0+ / 0-)

        Something like 6% of electricity comes from solar & wind - - and electricity is only about 1/2 of U.S. energy use - the other half is transportation which is almost exclusively petroleum based. So only 3% of total energy is solar & wind. If CHSRA does ever get up and running, which I doubt, then its power will come from whatever the electric mix - the largest new component is gas.

        •  Your conclusion does not follow from your ... (0+ / 0-)

          ... premises.

          First, the CA HSR is not running generically anywhere in the US, its running in California, so the relevant power options are the California options, not the generic US mix.

          And Second, so long as there is sufficient capability to add new renewable power capacity to provide the power required by the service, and the CHSRA contracts to obtain all renewable energy from non-legacy sources, then whether the average mix in California is 1% Wind and Solar or 20% Wind and Solar is not all that relevant, given that 100% of the CHSRA's power will come from renewable sources.

          All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

          by BruceMcF on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 01:32:17 PM PDT

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          •  Sounds Like - (0+ / 0-)

            Like borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.

            Given modern energy exchanges and regional transfers -
            no amigo - at least the regional mix is what operates.

            And if, technically, CHSRA uses all of the available wind energy, then what net good does it do?

            <<<>>>

            So, you are suggesting we drop at least $68 billion for a shell game?

            •  In what sense is it borrowing from Peter to ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... pay Paul? When you draw up a proper contract for the supply of renewable power from new renewable energy capacity, there is a steep penalty attached to the other part not investing in sufficient new renewable energy production to produce the energy you are consuming.

              This is, of course, a long recognized issue raised back in the 90's as people tried to work out how to allow people to elect to pay for sustainable power in order to improve the market for sustainable power. Its not like the CHSRA is breaking any new ground here. And with over a decade of experience with both effective arrangements and ineffective arrangements, there are evidence-based opportunities to raise the alarm if they end up making an ineffective arrangement instead of an effective one.

              All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

              by BruceMcF on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:10:53 PM PDT

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    •  The Fresno to Bakersfield complaint ... (4+ / 0-)

      ... is confusing construction segments and operating segments.

      The two viable Initial Operating Segments would either be from the San Fernando Valley through to Fresno, or from San Jose through to Bakersfield. The CHSRA has adopted the first as their target.

      There is no "Fresno to Bakersfield" Initial Operating Service option, so objections to operating segments between Fresno and Bakersfield are addressing a fabricated story initially spread by propagandists and then echoed by those they have successfully confused.

      As far as construction segments, there are five basic construction segments for the Anaheim/LAUS through to SJ/SFTransbay corridor to choose from as the first construction segment:

      (1) Expensive urban corridor from SF Transbay to the edge of the Bay Area
      (2) Expensive corridor through rough terrain to transition into the San Joaquin Valley to the point where the LA/SF corridor will junction with the LA/Sac corridor
      (3) Inexpensive corridor through flat terrain from north of Fresno to just north of Bakersfield
      (4) Very expensive corridor through very rough terrain to transition from the San Joaquin Valley to the LA Basin
      (5) Expensive urban corridor from the lower San Fernando Valley through LA Union Station to the Anaheim terminus.

      The two viable Initial Operating Services boil down to a choice between (2)+(3), and (4)+(3).

      (3) on its own is not an Initial Operating Segment, so the "Train to Nowhere" talking point is either calling the Bay Area or the LA Basin "nowhere".

      As far as the spurious notion that you need two big anchors, that was disproved by the French with their first big successful HSR corridor from Paris to Lyon, given that Lyon and Fresno are similar sized cities.

      And in terms of timelines and sequencing, you need to have some extensive portion of (3) finished before you can start running any Initial Operating Service, to put the HST's through regulatory approvals.

      So its no surprise that in terms of providing substantial funding, the Federal Dept. of Transportation was only willing to fund (3) as an initial construction segment.

      That is the one with the lowest risk of not ever getting use for HSR, since it is part of either alternative viable Initial Operating Service. It is also the one that allows earlier regulatory approval of vehicles, which is absolutely essential to gaining private finance, as private finance is primarily offered for the rolling stock and offered by the rolling stock vendors ... and so you need a range of rolling stock with regulatory approval in order to have competition between HST vendors.

      The arguments against having that (3) as the first segment built, as the first construction stage to be followed by either (4) or (2), are:

      (1) Emotional. "Ewww, who wants to go to Bakersfield."
      (2) Raiding the dedicated HSR funds for non-HSR purposes: "I want the money spent were we can use it to run commuter trains."

      All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

      by BruceMcF on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 02:08:24 PM PDT

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      •  No, Bruce - - (0+ / 0-)

        I've done historical research in the Valley - -
        I love the Valley and its culture.

        The issue is lack of ridership.

        •  again, more unsupported assertions (0+ / 0-)

          Given population and economic growth estimates for the next 40 years, there will be a need to provide extensive additional transportation capacity between LA and SF. Building nothing means that highways and airports already choked with traffic become impassible. Building new highway lanes and new airports would, I strongly suspect, cost far far more than 68 billion for conveying the same number of people. If you disagree, again feel free to write a diary proving this. So HSR is the best of the actual alternatives.
               When you consider that it also offers benefits to the communities in between LA and SF, that it will be run on electricity rather than fossil fuel, and that it will be far less polluting (CO2 aside) than cars or jets...this would seem to be a no brainer. As Bruce points out, the French TGV system has been so profitable and has made such a difference to the nation, that they are rapidly expanding the LGV lines throughout the country. When true HSR comes to California, other states will demand it.

          "Something has gone very wrong with America, not just its economy, but its ability to function as a democratic nation. And it’s hard to see when or how that wrongness will get fixed." Paul Krugman and Robin Wells

          by Reston history guy on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:30:09 PM PDT

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          •  Hey, Mr. History Guy (0+ / 0-)

            Let's see a few references.
            Ya know - - like sourcing your opinions?

            CHSRA is absurdly expensive -
            And is likely to be a huge capital drain on other initiatives.
            Many climate activists are leery about CHSRA's claim on climate funds.

            I would like to hear someone say -
            "I don't care if it's 10X more expensive per mile than freeways. The cost is still justified."
            Then, at least, there would be acknowledgement of costs.

            Money doesn't grow on trees -
            And this project will hoover up everything.
            And that's WITHOUT cost overruns.

            There is no better plan to destroy passenger rail for the next generation than CHSRA.

            There's lots of info out there for a person willing to look -
            information from multiple perspectives.
            Ultimately, it simply does not add up.
            Not even remotely.

            •  I would take it at 2x the $$ cost of freeways (0+ / 0-)

              ... because the uncharged cost of sticking to gas power cars running on freeways as our primary means of transport is the end of the US as a coherent national civilization, and I value our country at at least twice the money we put into the roads.

              But in this case, its not 2x, its less than 1x, so that issue does not arise.

              All the world's a stage, the theater is on fire, and the lead actors are telling the audience that the smoke is a trick, they should stay seated an enjoy the show.

              by BruceMcF on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:51:34 PM PDT

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