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www.latimes.com/news/opinion/opinionla/la-ed-bullettrain-201...

Not the least boneheaded of these is the board's plan to take a circuitous route from Los Angeles to Bakersfield by veering through Palmdale and Lancaster. Compared with the more direct route along Interstate 5 through the Grapevine, this would add 30 miles to the trip plus $1 billion in construction costs, and make it all but impossible for the train to meet its promised travel time of 2 hours and 40 minutes from L.A. to San Francisco....

To qualify for federal funds, planners had to agree to break ground by 2012. With political battles raging throughout the state over routing decisions, federal officials deemed that the only segment that would be ready for construction so quickly was in the sparsely populated Central Valley. As a result, the bulk of the $3.5 billion kicked in by the Obama administration must be spent on a train running between the tiny towns of Borden and Corcoran. Ridership on this initial segment would be slight, making it impossible to operate the train without taxpayer subsidies. Yet under the terms of Proposition 1A, the state can't issue bonds to pay for the project unless it has been demonstrated to be self-sufficient. What's more, if federal and other funds for further construction dry up, California could end up with an expensive train to nowhere.

DB2
Borden, CA: an unincorporated community in Madera County. The Borden post office operated to 1873, closed for a time in 1896, and closed for good in 1907.
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No. of Recommendations: 6
Isn't it amazing how they can take something so simple and screw it up so badly? Just run the bleeding thing down the median of I-5. Easy peasy.

But then if the vid I posted recently about the creationist bill debate back east is indicative, most politicians (especially at the state level) are low-grade morons who couldn't balance their own checkbooks.
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But the detour picks up a ton more cities of people who would want to go to Vegas. I can already drive there in 3 hours. You're not going to get me on a train if I have to go an hour out of my way to get to the train station first.

I'm not saying it's right, better, whatever. I'm just giving one of the reasons. 30 miles of detour for a high speed rail isn't enough of a time delay to justify missing out on a lot more passengers, imo.


Frydaze1
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But the detour picks up a ton more cities of people who would want to go to Vegas. I can already drive there in 3 hours.

except the train is going to SF so those folks looking to hit Vegas may be sorely disappointed.
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except the train is going to SF so those folks looking to hit Vegas may be sorely disappointed.

LOL sorry. I've been listening to talk of the Vegas bullet train for years. I got tunnel vision.

Point remains, though. That 30 mile detour picks up a ton more people. Heck, I like San Francisco almost as much as I like Vegas.

And it costs nearly as much.


Frydaze1
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Heck, I like San Francisco almost as much as I like Vegas.

And it costs nearly as much.


SF is much more expensive than Vegas. After all, Vegas is practically a giant ATM machine. There are casinos all over that town just giving away money. I don't know how they do it.
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I can already drive there in 3 hours.


If you are driving from LA to Vegas in 3 hours, you may want to practice up on that smiling.
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I'm not saying it's right, better, whatever. I'm just giving one of the reasons. 30 miles of detour for a high speed rail isn't enough of a time delay to justify missing out on a lot more passengers, imo.

However, it does cost an extra $1 billion (if they keep it in budget). If they got an extra 200 people a day that would mean an extra 73,000 passengers per year. Over 20 years time that would be

$1,000,000,000/(73000 x 20) = $685/person

I don't expect many people would be willing to pay an extra $700 to ride the train.

DB2
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If you are driving from LA to Vegas in 3 hours, you may want to practice up on that smiling.

If I lived in LA I wouldn't be encouraging a train detour.


Frydaze1
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1pg: Isn't it amazing how they can take something so simple and screw it up so badly? Just run the bleeding thing down the median of I-5. Easy peasy.

You made me chuckle. I-5 doesn't have a median through the Tejon Pass. The two "sides" meander quite independently of one another, coming back together at the Grapevine.

But, one way to get something screwed up is to turn it over to a bunch of congress slimes with a keen sense of special interest and local pork.

aka follow the money.

IB Pore
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If you are driving from LA to Vegas in 3 hours, you may want to practice up on that smiling.

Why? It's only about 300 miles.

IB
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Just run the bleeding thing down the median of I-5. Easy peasy.

Right, because disrupting an already over-crowded transportation corridor is easy.

Shifting the north/south traffic flow to another region is a smart plan on several fronts.
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They're building something down the middle of the 202 here in Chandler...it's not disrupting anything. All lanes are open while they busily do whatever they are doing (which, I suspect, is NOT a train).
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They're building something down the middle of the 202 here in Chandler...it's not disrupting anything. All lanes are open while they busily do whatever they are doing (which, I suspect, is NOT a train).


They're building something down the middle of the 10 here in CA. It shuts down no lanes of traffic and the equipment isn't even running during my morning commute.

And still we stop every.single.damned.day while the commuters rubberneck at all the big equipment.

I swear I'm gonna strap a bazooka or a train horn onto the front of my car and go on a personal crusade to remind people that we are supposed to be DRIVING right now.


Frydaze1
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Frydaze1: I swear I'm gonna strap a bazooka or a train horn onto the front of my car and go on a personal crusade to remind people that we are supposed to be DRIVING right now.

That'll just make all those people on their cellphones stop so they can hear.

rj
</hhos>
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If they got an extra 200 people a day that would mean an extra 73,000 passengers per year. Over 20 years time that would be

$1,000,000,000/(73000 x 20) = $685/person

I don't expect many people would be willing to pay an extra $700 to ride the train.

According to their study the number is 12,900 boardings daily in Palmdale.
http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/Palmdale_-_Los_Angeles.asp...

That reduces your number to $10.62.
It is clearly a different dynamic if the train is used for a daily commute versus "vacations".
--Alan
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I swear I'm gonna strap a bazooka or a train horn onto the front of my car and go on a personal crusade to remind people that we are supposed to be DRIVING right now.

:-)
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According to their study the number is 12,900 boardings daily in Palmdale.

Wow. That's about 10% of the city riding every day. Do that many people work in Burbank/downtown LA?

DB2
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Wow. That's about 10% of the city riding every day. Do that many people work in Burbank/downtown LA?

Not only are there more jobs in LA than in the surrounding areas (and around here the commuting distance can be 100 miles) but the pay is much higher. I currently work 35 miles from home... and I'm making about 2/3 what I'd make if I were still willing to commute 60 miles further.


Frydaze1
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According to their study the number is 12,900 boardings daily in Palmdale.
Wow. That's about 10% of the city riding every day.

Actually, it's only 5%. If they're commuting, one person who uses the train boards it twice in a day--once on the way there and once on the way back. 13k boardings = 6.5k "riders". And it's a forecast number, too, isn't it? Compare it to the future population, and the %age might be even lower.

-n8 (transportation plangineer by day)
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Wow. That's about 10% of the city riding every day. Do that many people work in Burbank/downtown LA?

There's a reason you can get a traffic report on Saturday night at 10:00 PM in Southern California.

t.
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<I They're building something down the middle of the 202 here in Chandler...it's not disrupting anything.

Hey, know what?

That's ***great***. Bully for Arizona and Chandler and the 202.


It is *not*, however, the 10 which is what we're talking about.
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Just out of curiosity, TeraGram, what part of our lovely CA insanity are you in?

I'm in the Inland Empire, after growing up in The Valley and Malibu.


Frydaze1
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Just out of curiosity, TeraGram, what part of our lovely CA insanity are you in?


Santa Barbara, another region which would benefit ENORMOUSLY from from commuter rail. However, there is no where to put it. None, at all.

Theoretically it *could* go where the existing rail lines are, but they're already congested and the required upgrade & additions to those rails would impinge on commercial traffic in a completely unacceptable manner.

Not to mention the rail lines here (as they are in most places) are owned by a private entity (not government).


Yes, the rail lines need to be installed.

Yes, it will be expensive.

Yes, it will cause disruption to traffic and private property.

It has to start somewhere. I'm anxious for any one of the current projects to get started. I would *love, love, love* there to be a rail line between LA & LV. Hot damn that would *rock*.
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Margaret: It is *not*, however, the 10 which is what we're talking about.

I thoughet we were talking the I-5. What did I miss>

IB
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Wow. That's about 10% of the city riding every day. Do that many people work in Burbank/downtown LA?

no one actually works in Palmdale
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I-5, I-10, whatever. I should've gone back to look.

It still isn't the 202.
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It still isn't the 202.

True. The I5 has large stretches where the lanes are well-separated. I've driven to Six Flags (from the I10). Lots of land to work with in many places. The median on the 202 is perhaps 20' wide. Give or take.

They actually have a kind of cool way to deliver concrete (I assume) to the median area. They have a large machine in a lot off one side of the road, then a conveyor/bridge that takes it over the roadway and deposits it in some manner in the median area (there's some fencing, so I can't see exactly what it's depositing into). At least part of why they haven't had to close the road, I'm sure.

1poorguy
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Wow. That's about 10% of the city riding every day. Do that many people work in Burbank/downtown LA?

There's a reason you can get a traffic report on Saturday night at 10:00 PM in Southern California.



all the people driving to night-clubs in Burbank??



(>,
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California high-speed rail cost soars
www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/08/09/1998444/ap-exclusive-calif-...

Building tracks for the first section of California's proposed high-speed rail line will cost $2.9 billion to $6.8 billion more than originally estimated, raising questions about the affordability of the nation's most ambitious rail project at a time when its planning and finances are under fire.

A 2009 business plan developed for the California High-Speed Authority, the entity overseeing the project, estimated costs at about $7.1 billion for the equivalent stretch of tracks. Officials say those estimates were made before detailed engineering work and feedback from communities along the proposed route.

The latest estimates are contained in two environmental impact studies that were shared with The Associated Press before their public release on Tuesday.

DB2
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Building tracks for the first section of California's proposed high-speed rail line will cost $2.9 billion to $6.8 billion more than originally estimated, raising questions about the affordability of the nation's most ambitious rail project at a time when its planning and finances are under fire.

That's exactly the kind of project that is needed right now.** It will produce a LOT of jobs (those building the actual rail lines, as well as all the suppliers making all the bits needed for those lines).

Beats the snot out of funding bankers' bonuses...

1poorguy

**disclaimer: I am not familiar with the specifics of the route it will take, nor the wisdom of that route. Choice of train route will affect the utility and benefit of the project.
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An update on the cost of the high-speed rail project:

California's High Speed Rail Project Could Cost $98.5 Billion Over 20 Years
www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/01/californias-high-speed-ra_...

A business plan released Tuesday gives the most detailed look to date at California's ambitious plan to link its major cities by high-speed rail, projecting the cost has ballooned to nearly $100 billion....

The daunting figure may cause sticker shock even for the most ardent supporters of the project. The business plan comes after Gov. Jerry Brown appointed two new members to California's high-speed rail commission and asked them to take a hard look at the proposal and assess its viability. They concluded the project is doable, if built in phases, but the cost will be more than double the original projection....

The initial estimate to build the system when voters approved bond funding for it in 2008 was $43 billion.

DB2
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Get the money from the Pentagon. They can afford it, and they certainly don't need all the money they have. Scrap the JFK and build this instead. (We already have 11 carriers, we don't need 12...actually, 14...they have plans for three more and have already started the Gerald Ford.)
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Too bad Saint Ronnie didn't build it when it could have been done much more cheaply.

Perhaps we could get the Chinese to build it for us. Save a ton on labor. Worked the last time we built a railroad.
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Get the money from the Pentagon.

IIRC, California doesn't have a Pentagon. :-)

DB2
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IIRC, California doesn't have a Pentagon. :-)

True. Though I suspect they have a lot of pentagrams!

The economy is in need of additional stimulus. Most actual economists, plus the data I've seen, indicate that the last stimulus did some good but was too small. Couple this with the attempt to fund a similar system in Florida (that their idiot governor refused), and I think we have a winner. FL doesn't want it, fund it in CA. Get some stimulus (jobs, anyone??). Get some transport. Maybe alleviate traffic problems a bit. And no need to raise taxes to do it. Just scrap a couple of new supercarriers that we don't need anyway.
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IIRC, California doesn't have a Pentagon. :-)

But we certainly have some carriers parked here.

It's interesting that China, Japan, France, Germany, Austria, for example, allllll managed to build heavily used, well integrated, high speed rail systems, but the great United States of America cannot pull it off?

Our highway system is swell, but the ability to get people off the highway without going through the airport hassle would be a huge national benefit.
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The economy is in need of additional stimulus.

Ground breaking isn't scheduled to start for another 12 months, and the $100 billion will be spend over the next 20 years after that. :-(

DB2
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It's interesting that China, Japan, France, Germany, Austria, for example, allllll managed to build heavily used, well integrated, high speed rail systems, but the great United States of America cannot pull it off?

So much for American exceptionalism. Unless it now means "except for America".
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I wonder how much of the cost is actually security and insurance and such?


Frydaze1
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Our highway system is swell, but the ability to get people off the highway without going through the airport hassle would be a huge national benefit.

Wouldn't that just replace an airport hassle with a railway station hassle?

DB2
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Ground breaking isn't scheduled to start for another 12 months, and the $100 billion will be spend over the next 20 years after that. :-(

Yeah...long term thinking is good too. Something we severely lack in this country.

And if people knew this was going to be funded, I would expect a ramp-up of activity prior to the ground-breaking. Companies hiring people to make the rails, to make the trains, to make the switches and signals and control centers. I would be very surprised if such activity waited for some goober in a suit/tie with a hardhat to stick a gold-painted shovel into the dirt.
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Wouldn't that just replace an airport hassle with a railway station hassle?

Why would it? Are there presently subway hassles in SF or NYC? Those are basically just trains that travel underground. I didn't experience any such hassle when I used the train in DC (from West Falls Church), nor in Calgary, nor in Munich, nor in Salzburg, nor in Firenze (from Salzburg, and then later to Rome).
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Couple this with the attempt to fund a similar system in Florida (that their idiot governor refused), and I think we have a winner. FL doesn't want it, fund it in CA.

I'm not a fan of our governor, but this is one thing that he probably got right. There was absolutely no reason that HSR should be built between Tampa and Orlando at the costs involved. Even stipulating that government should be spending a lot of money right now, they should at least spend it on things that make sense.

Albaby
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I'm not a fan of our governor, but this is one thing that he probably got right. There was absolutely no reason that HSR should be built between Tampa and Orlando at the costs involved. Even stipulating that government should be spending a lot of money right now, they should at least spend it on things that make sense.

I would have to defer to you about that specific route. It seems like a decent idea to me, but I would be a tourist there. I'd like to see rail from KSC to Tampa. Then when we fly into Orlando we can do Disney, Seaworld, and whatever in Orlando, plus hop the train to KSC, and another day head to Tampa (I hear Busch Gardens is really nice).

Though CA does make more sense to me from a population density standpoint. Rail I think is better in places with higher density, so the LA megalopolis, with service as far as SF or Sacramento (north) and San Diego makes sense to me.
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I would have to defer to you about that specific route. It seems like a decent idea to me, but I would be a tourist there. I'd like to see rail from KSC to Tampa. Then when we fly into Orlando we can do Disney, Seaworld, and whatever in Orlando, plus hop the train to KSC, and another day head to Tampa (I hear Busch Gardens is really nice).

It's only about 80-90 miles between those destinations, directly connected in a straight-line route by I-4. That's too short a distance for HSR to really replace car trips. It's so short a distance, and so well-served by highway infrastructure, that HSR offers little value for those who can travel by car. For those who don't have a car, it's heavily serviced by private bus companies who run trips to the tourist destinations. For non-tourists, both Orlando and Tampa are low-density car-oriented cities - so there's no real ability to get around without a car once you get from one city to the other.

All of that means that there's just not enough demand to justify the enormous investment in infrastructure for that route.

Albaby
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Again, I don't live there. But when we visited I will say that the toll booths every couple of miles were a royal PITA. Barely get up to highway speed, and then to stop and give them more money. I'm not exaggerating. There were very few stretches of more than a mile or two without booths when we drove to KSC.

Rail would sooooooo kick butt just for that.

And I would think that business would pop up around the rail to facilitate people getting to places from the rail stops, creating more jobs/business.
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Wouldn't that just replace an airport hassle with a railway station hassle?

Oh, hell no..... Sometimes I have to lay over in Sandy Eggo, taking the train up the coast to the OC.. it's a piece of cake taking the train... buy yer ticket at the kiosk, get on, go. Hour later, get off in San Clemente or San Juan Capo, call the wife or walk home.

Alternative woud be flying from SD to OC which would be at least a 4 hour ordeal.

My bigggest objection is to the route they have selected. It would seem to me that the coastal route from SanDiego to SanFrancisco with spurs at LA and SF to the inland population centers would be more efficient.... the dumbest proposal was, imho, the Anaheim-Vegas high speed line.
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Wouldn't that just replace an airport hassle with a railway station hassle?
---
Why would it? Are there presently subway hassles in SF or NYC?


Which brings up the question: Why are there airport hassles?

Is it the number of passengers? LAX handles some 30 million enplanements x 2 = 60 million people per year in and out. The CA HSR system is projected to have some 10 million passengers a year.

Is it security? Something else?

DB2
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...the dumbest proposal was, imho, the Anaheim-Vegas high speed line.

Why? I'm sure it would be used heavily.

Sometime look at a map of Arizona. I10 enters Tucson from the east, heads up to Phoenix, and then heads over to LA. I17 goes from Phoenix to Flagstaff. I40 pretty much crosses the T of I17, heading straight across the top of the state.

And then there's this one diagonal highway. US93. It basically goes straight from Phoenix to Vegas, baby. There's little other reason for that road to exist.
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Is it security? Something else?

Yes and yes, IMO.

We have the security theater going on. Certainly valid concerns since a fairly small device can bring down a plane, killing a few hundred people. A small device on a train won't do much since the train is already on the ground. Bigger concern would be someone blowing up a bit of track (which all the security in the world during embarkation would not prevent). They check you, your carry-ons, your check-ins. Not trivial.

The "something else" is luggage. You check in for your flight. Weigh your bags, possibly shuffle stuff between bags so they are under the official weight, etc.

With a train, at least in my experience, you get your ticket and then you get on the train with your bag(s). That's it. Sorta the way flying used to be when I was a kid.
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Our highway system is swell, but the ability to get people off the highway without going through the airport hassle would be a huge national benefit.

Our highway system is badly in need of maintenance. We have been deferring that part for many years.

IB
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Again, I don't live there. But when we visited I will say that the toll booths every couple of miles were a royal PITA. Barely get up to highway speed, and then to stop and give them more money. I'm not exaggerating. There were very few stretches of more than a mile or two without booths when we drove to KSC.

I don't believe that I-4 (the route connecting Tampa to Orlando) is tolled at all - it's just a straight shot. There are lots of toll roads in the area, connecting Orlando to other nearby cities (like KSC). But the HSR wasn't going to connect to those other areas.

And I would think that business would pop up around the rail to facilitate people getting to places from the rail stops, creating more jobs/business.

Perhaps - there are structural constraints. In order to keep that section from being slower than auto travel, there were only going to be five stops: the Orlando Airport, the Orlando Convention Center, Walt Disney World, Lakeland and Downtown Tampa. The airport and Downtown Tampa areas are already well-served with the types of businesses that you're talking about, and the Disney stop wouldn't have any peripheral businesses. I don't think you'd see much new economic activity except perhaps at the Lakeland site. Even at these locations, it comes down to how many people actually use the rail instead of driving (or to make trips they wouldn't otherwise make). Unless you have a really heavy flow of travellers, you're not going to attract all that much new business activity.

Albaby
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1pg: The economy is in need of additional stimulus. Most actual economists, plus the data I've seen, indicate that the last stimulus did some good but was too small. Couple this with the attempt to fund a similar system in Florida (that their idiot governor refused), and I think we have a winner. FL doesn't want it, fund it in CA. Get some stimulus (jobs, anyone??). Get some transport. Maybe alleviate traffic problems a bit. And no need to raise taxes to do it. Just scrap a couple of new supercarriers that we don't need anyway.

If we don't build the supercarriers, that's a lot of ship-builders out of work.

One thing about rail, though, is that the more you need it the harder it is to do it -- land use and whatnot make it increasingly expensive in dollar terms. So sooner is better than later.

The stimulus was ultimately mostly offset by cuts in state government spending, which cut about $465 billion. So, after tax cuts, the stimulus was ultimately 100 billion or so. Pretty sad, and now there's no political will for another, "because it's been tried and didn't work".

rj
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Though CA does make more sense to me from a population density standpoint. Rail I think is better in places with higher density, so the LA megalopolis, with service as far as SF or Sacramento (north) and San Diego makes sense to me.


It makes sense to me, too. Living in San Diego, I cringe at the thought of driving anywhere in CA because you always have to go near or through LA, which means extra hours and aggravation. A HSR would be great for me, and I would definitely use it.

6
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Why are there airport hassles? Is it the number of passengers? LAX handles some 30 million enplanements

Airplanes have that element of finality. Once get on, there's only one possibility for living; a safe landing at an airport.

Most of the attempts to put agents on board a hijacked plane in the sky have failed... I think Jack Ryan pulled it off, but Tommy Lee Jones failed. Wesley Snipes... did he succeed? Can't remember. Trains are much easier for cops to get to when bad guys are being bad.

The prospect of being in an aluminum tube at 35,000 feet over the earth is always going to be more terrifying than being on a land conveyance.

A train engineer can hit the brakes anywhere and give everybody a chance to just walk away from a bad actor.

Being on the ground one has a better chance of surviving. That sarin gas attack on the tokyo subway only killed 13 people. The rest walked away. If it had been at 35,000 feet everybody would have died.
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And if people knew this was going to be funded, I would expect a ramp-up of activity prior to the ground-breaking. Companies hiring people to make the rails, to make the trains, to make the switches and signals and control centers. I would be very surprised if such activity waited for some goober in a suit/tie with a hardhat to stick a gold-painted shovel into the dirt.

Don't forget the civil engineers (distinct from train engineers) who would be needed to design the thing.
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I'm sure it would be used heavily.-Sometime look at a map of Arizona


Zona's???? You want me to create a route for more Zona's to come to my beach?

I'd be hard pressed to come up with a less persuasive line of reasoning ;-)

Keeerist, the zona's just finallly went home for the winter.
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Again, I don't live there. But when we visited I will say that the toll booths every couple of miles were a royal PITA. Barely get up to highway speed, and then to stop and give them more money. I'm not exaggerating. There were very few stretches of more than a mile or two without booths when we drove to KSC.

I drove from Orlando to Titusville. Knowing what I know about Florida's toll roads, I set my GPS to "avoid tolls" and got there in good time on the side roads. There aren't that many towns between to provide speed traps.
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DB2: Which brings up the question: Why are there airport hassles?

Is it the number of passengers? LAX handles some 30 million enplanements x 2 = 60 million people per year in and out. The CA HSR system is projected to have some 10 million passengers a year.

Is it security? Something else?


Several things:

(1) Airports need lots of space, so they tend to be in the 'burbs. Some places have local trains/subways that get there, but many do not. Train stations tend to be downtown and well-connected.

(2) Airplanes need to weigh their cargo and balance its distribution in the plane so it can fly safely. Too much weight in the front costs additional fuel and may make the plane hard to take-off and land; too much in the rear may make it unstable. (This means collecting all or nearly all the luggage before the flight, weighing it, separating it into piles front, rear, and other (at least), and returning it after flight.)

(3) Airline pricing and ticketing make travel at short notice or whim uneconomical.

(4) Security, real and theater.

rj
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The stimulus was ultimately mostly offset by cuts in state government spending, which cut about $465 billion. So, after tax cuts, the stimulus was ultimately 100 billion or so.

Estimates for total government spending by year
www.usgovernmentspending.com/total_spending_2007USbn

2007 $4.9 trillion
2008 5.3
2009 5.9
2010 5.9
-
Total: $2.4 trillion over 2007 baseline

DB2
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Total: $2.4 trillion over 2007 baseline

Iraq. Sheeesh. Coulda had a high speed rail instead. Dubya; the worst president ever.
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Most of the attempts to put agents on board a hijacked plane in the sky have failed... I think Jack Ryan pulled it off, but Tommy Lee Jones failed. Wesley Snipes... did he succeed? Can't remember. Trains are much easier for cops to get to when bad guys are being bad.


But they're also easier for bad guys to get into and then back out of with the loot, if they have a helicopter handy.

6
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With a train, at least in my experience, you get your ticket and then you get on the train with your bag(s). That's it. Sorta the way flying used to be when I was a kid.

That's the way it was in France on the TGV. Cot on in Paris, with luggage, got off in Cannes a few hours later, with a meal on the way.

IB
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But they're also easier for bad guys to get into and then back out of with the loot, if they have a helicopter handy.

There is that, of course, but you are not taking into account the gorilla factor. Never underestimate the effectiveness of a gorilla in the baggage car.

There's a much higher possibility on a train than on a plane of there being a of a gorilla in the baggage compartment into which the bad guys could be shoved.
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There's a much higher possibility on a train than on a plane of there being a of a gorilla in the baggage compartment into which the bad guys could be shoved.

Also, from my extensive personal experience, there are more rucksacks on average on trains.

6
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It's interesting that China, Japan, France, Germany, Austria, for example, allllll managed to build heavily used, well integrated, high speed rail systems, but the great United States of America cannot pull it off?

So much for American exceptionalism. Unless it now means "except for America".



dunno about China's system ..

but is it coincidence that the other countries on the list are MUCH smaller?

..and ,of course, pretty much commie-atheist-muslim ....
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the dumbest proposal was, imho, the Anaheim-Vegas high speed line.

I greatly disagree. One of the benefits of that line, aside from the huge popularity of that trip (as evidenced by the ridiculous traffic to and from every weekend (I live on that route)), is that Vegas would pay for a chunk of it out of their tourism budget since it would (presumably) increase their business. Granted, even Vegas economy is hurting right now, but under any normal circumstances they have more money than God for stuff like this.


Frydaze1
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I'd probably be in Vegas once a month if this thing was operational.

Just because I like to get out of town and Vegas has some of the best near-free entertainment on earth. Don't believe me? Go sit at the bar in the Wynn and watch people downing $1500 shots of Scotch. Sure, the club soda I drank was overpriced, but the people watching was priceless.
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the dumbest proposal was, imho, the Anaheim-Vegas high speed line.

I greatly disagree. One of the benefits of that line, aside from the huge popularity of that trip (as evidenced by the ridiculous traffic to and from every weekend (I live on that route)



i'm a little surprised at the 'Anaheim' end
instead of LA or ... used to make the LA-Vegas run all the time
(but it's been Donkey Years since i lived in LA, so maybe the pattern has changed)
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Poll casts cloud over high-speed rail project
www.contracostatimes.com/rss/ci_19484491?source=rss

Four weeks after the news that the cost of California's high-speed rail project has tripled since voters approved it, the struggling project is taking another hit: waning public support. A new Field Poll shows that 64 percent of California voters would like a ballot measure giving them a chance to reconsider their 2008 decision to approve $9 billion in state bonds for the project. Fifty-nine percent said they would reject the $98.5 billion project if it were put before them again. In 2008, 52.6 percent of voters approved plans for the rail line to connect San Francisco and Sacramento with Los Angeles.

DB2
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Review urges delay in borrowing billions for bullet train
www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-train-report-2012010...

In a scathing critique that could further jeopardize political support for California's proposed $98.5-billion bullet train, a key independent review panel is recommending that state officials postpone borrowing billions of dollars to start building the first section of track this year....

The panel includes private-sector financial experts, a University of California dean of engineering, a former Caltrans director and a local government representative. Their warnings are likely to weigh heavily on lawmakers as they consider the project in coming months, said Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), a longtime supporter of high-speed rail who has grown increasingly concerned about the project....

Brown's office signaled that the governor isn't likely to be swayed by the panel's findings. "It does not appear to add any arguments that are new or compelling enough to suggest a change in course," said Gil Duran, Brown's press secretary.

DB2
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Updates on the high-speed rail project:

California Bullet Train Chief Exits
www.nbclosangeles.com/blogs/prop-zero/California-High-Speed-...
The system's Chief Executive Officer, Roelof van Ark, announced Thursday he was resigning from his $375,000 a year post after only 18 months on the job.

State Auditor Slams High Speed Rail
www.nbcbayarea.com/blogs/prop-zero/California-State-Auditor-...
State Auditor Elaine Howle issued a damaging report on Tuesday, suggesting that the system is flawed by a lack of money, potential passengers, and oversight. It's the latest setback for the $98 billion project. A few weeks ago, the rail authority's peer review panel questioned whether the system's cost makes sense.

DB2
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High speed rail chief: Bullet train won't cost $100 billion
www.mercurynews.com/california-high-speed-rail/ci_20168582/h...

Promising "improvements" to the state's controversial bullet train plan, the new head of the project told a Senate hearing in Silicon Valley on Tuesday he now believes building high-speed rail would cost less than the alarming estimate of nearly $100 billion....

Using existing tracks like Caltrain and speeding up the construction schedule would bring down the costs of the project, Richard said in defending the much-criticized plan that Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed him to revive. He also promised quicker upgrades to Bay Area and Los Angeles commuter lines that would share the track and upgrading the initial leg of track in the Central Valley. Richard said the project's first segment in the Central Valley -- dismissed by some as a $6 billion "train to nowhere" -- will be tweaked to offer more "immediate benefits," but he offered no specifics.

He also vowed to spend some $750 million in state funds in the next few years to help electrify the Caltrain line and $1 billion for similar commuter rail upgrades in Southern California, laying the foundation for bullet trains in those regions. The state's new plan will call for launching train service sooner by breaking the 520-mile line into "bite-sized" segments that can be built quicker. Previous estimates had delayed full service between San Francisco and Los Angeles to 2034.

Richard did not shed light on the fact that California does not have about 85 percent of the funding needed to build the train.

DB2
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High-speed rail plan slashes costs to calm critics
www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/04/01/MN2F1NT...

State transportation officials have slashed the price tag for California's controversial high-speed rail project by $30 billion and expanded the first stretch of track to run from Merced in the Central Valley south to the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles....

The drastic revision, which puts the proposed cost of the system at $68.4 billion instead of the $98.5 billion estimated in November, intends to cool opposition to the project, which has been labeled a "train to nowhere" for its plans to start in the state's rural center, and criticized for its high costs and uncertain funding plan.

While the updated strategy still calls for construction to start in the Central Valley, it abandons plans to build only a 130-mile stretch from Chowchilla (Madera County) to Bakersfield. Instead, it extends the initial line north to Merced and south across the Tehachapi Mountains to Palmdale and the San Fernando Valley, probably Burbank, and calls for it to carry high-speed trains along the 300-mile stretch. It relies heavily on what officials have called a "blended approach" that uses existing commuter rail lines - including Caltrain - in the Bay Area and Los Angeles.

DB2
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A good article on Daily Kos about the proposed HSR changes might mean for California Bay Area rail (since the actual details mostly aren't released yet):

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/04/01/1079765/-Sunday-Tra...

rj
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