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

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  •  Except you are now pretending that ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... diverted air trips are not occurring, when in Spain, which has similar populations, similar population distribution and similar distances between biggest and second biggest population centers as California, trips diverted from air and trips diverted from driving were quite similar.

    Its not just roads that will require additional investment if California maintains dependence on soon to be obsolete transport systems, its also air travel infrastructure.

    Plus a track-mile of HSR has multiple times the transport capacity of a road mile of highway, so a mile to mile comparison understates the road capacity that is no longer required.

    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 09:36:10 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  How Much Is $68 Billion? (0+ / 0-)

      First it was $33B when California voters approved the bond money.
      Then it swelled to $100B, then dropped to $68B.

      Those numbers are public record.

      For comparison - CalTrans 2011 budget was $14B.
      It will such the oxygen out of every other transportation initiative.

      •  Most of that is the difference between ... (0+ / 0-)

        ... present value and nominal value. $38b was always stated as the present value cost of the project, while Federal guidelines require cost estimates that apply automatic estimated inflation adjusters to report the sum of the expected current values cost of the project.

        The present value is used in cost benefit analysis, since it is comparing costs and benefits at different points in time, and using present values weighs early costs and benefits more heavily than later costs and benefits.

        Using the Federal accounting for cost benefit analysis would make a benefit that is not experienced for half a century worth far more than a benefit that occurs immediately.

        But rules are rules, so when applying for Federal funds, the cost have to be toted up in "current value" totals that put more weight on costs that occur closer to project completion, because the inflation adjuster just goes steadily higher (and at a faster rater than the actual inflation rate since 2008).

        And then there was the "feature inflation" which is the largest part of the cost blow-outs of most big infrastructure projects ... Judge Kopp, Gov, Schwarzenegger's pick as Chair of the CHSRA, tended to respond to every problem with a "build a viaduct!" response, and was in line to push the project cost past $100b. The $68b was from Gov. Brown stepping in and putting a stop to that waste of public resources, insisting that public local transport authorities and the CHSRA work together on more cost efficient shared corridors for those higher capacity urban 125mph sections of the HSR.

        Judge Kopp's approach is intrinsically wasteful, since at 220mph you need greater time between trains to allow for longer distance of emergency stops. Five minute headways at 220mph is a maximum 12 trains per hour. Three minute headways at 125mph is 20 trains per hour.

        Add on top that individual HSR service typically run at an hourly frequency, sometimes with a half hourly frequency on peak, and if four distinct schedules are sharing the central trunk in the fully built system, that is a functional maximum of eight services per hour (which is why five minute headways are not a binding constraint).

        Set up a blended use system, and instead of being four tracks wide with two for HSR alone and two for all other rail services (local, regional, and Amtrak California), you have a system with two local tracks and two express tracks and ample capacity to put all the trains you can run through the bullet train part of the corridor on the express tracks while still have sufficient separation to allow Amtrak CA and regional Express trains to benefit from the additional capacity available on the Express tracks.

        It required Gov. Brown's intervention to tamp down on Judge Kopp's "throw more concrete at the problem" approach, otherwise the cost would likely have been in excess of $100b. And since that is more expensive than the investment required to provide an equivalent transport capacity with road and air transport, that $100b mark is a point where a lot of support for CHSRA as the less expensive long term transport alternative would fall away.

        Obviously it could cost $19b and the Reason Foundation would claim that it was a boondoggle. Its just that the closer it comes to offering transport capacity at a premium rather than a discount, the more people with real authority are going to be swayed by the Reason Foundation's claim.

        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 Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:20:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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