California High Speed Rail is in trouble..........I know, shocking

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frequentflyer

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To beat this dead horse, apparently the California politicians want to take the CHSR money and use it on commuter projects, or just not spend the money on a vanity project when the budget is suspected to have a $50 Billion shortfall.


 

rickycourtney

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This is perhaps the most comprehensive article on this story:
These two parts pretty much sum it up...
"The rail authority plans to commit later this year to the largest contract award in its history to install 171 miles of track, an advanced signaling system and a high voltage electrical system, as well as an agreement for system maintenance over the next 30 years. The resolution directs the authority to not issue the contract until the Legislature reviews the plan."
"The resolution does not carry the force of law to actually block the rail authority from issuing the contract. But if the rail authority rejects the advice, it sets up a potentially costly and historic battle."
If they get their way... we may finally get to see if the Chargers can make the 125 mph that Siemens promised!
 
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me_little_me

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Remember the Big Dig in Boston? Wasn't that a $4B project that cost $10B? And no Covid!
 

joelkfla

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"Buttigieg, the new transportation secretary, has not commented specifically on California's project. But he said recently on MSNBC that high-speed rail will be an administration priority.
'I want the U.S. to be leading the world when it comes to access to high-speed rail,' he said."
Admirable, but unrealistic. The chances of the U.S. leapfrogging Japan, China, and Europe in the next few decades (let alone the current administration) are pretty much nil.
 

John Bredin

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This seems to me to be more a debate over where the first phase of the HSR project should be built, not that the project shouldn't be built. The L.A. Times article seems to indicate that this isn't about taking funding away from HSR to give to commuter rail in the Bay Area and Los Angeles basin, in a "robbing Peter to pay Paul" manner, but to "divert about $5 billion to future bullet train routes in Southern California and Bay Area that now carry commuter rail systems." (Emphasis added by me).

IMHO, there are valid arguments on both sides. Getting something built in the cheapest/easiest region to build makes sense, especially when there was no prospect of any federal investment and indeed the federal government was viscerally opposed to it. Building something of broader use (HSR and commuter rail) in the most populous regions, even if it's more expensive, also makes sense, especially now when federal prospects are improved.

If it were me, I'd "bite the bullet" (pun intended) of probably the most expensive phase and build the tunnel under the Tehachapis first so that the San Joaquins can go through it from the Bay Area and Sacramento into Los Angeles Union Station while the later stages of the project are built. But I'm neither a civil engineer nor a California legislator nor even a California voter. :)

This debate is all for the good so long as the supporters of improved passenger rail in its various forms are vigilant to avoid being "used" by a temporary alliance with opponents of improved passenger rail in all its forms. They will use commuter rail as an excuse to kill HSR, then work to kill the commuter rail funding later so that nothing gets done.

As to this being a "vanity project,"

(1) I really don't think connecting the two principal population centers of California -- the Bay area, Silicon Valley, and Sacramento on one hand, the sprawling basin centered around Los Angeles on the other -- hundreds of miles apart faster than driving and in a less environmentally-unfriendly way than flying is a vanity project.

(2) Various public works projects now heavily used and highly valued were considered boondoggles by some until the day they opened. Looking just at transportation in California, the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Area Rapid Transit, and L.A. Metro subway all took their turns in that barrel. This video -- admittedly a promotion for the California HSR project -- makes that point in dramatic fashion.
 

Cal

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This is perhaps the most comprehensive article on this story:
These two parts pretty much sum it up...


If they get their way... we may finally get to see if the Chargers can make the 125 mph that Siemens promised!
So it would go to making the surfline route faster?
 

MARC Rider

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(2) Various public works projects now heavily used and highly valued were considered boondoggles by some until the day they opened. Looking just at transportation in California, the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Area Rapid Transit, and L.A. Metro subway all took their turns in that barrel. This video -- admittedly a promotion for the California HSR project -- makes that point in dramatic fashion.
Don't forget the original Transcontinental Railroad. Omaha to Sacramento? Talk about a "road to nowhere" with nothing in between back in 1863. Right after it was finished in 1869, you still couldn't run through trains from the east coast because there was no bridge across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs. But if they hadn't built it, people would still be sailing around the Horn to get from New York to California. (Except for the hardy ones taking "land cruises" in covered wagons, and complaining in the online forum "Wagon Train Unlimited" about the surly trail guides and the tasteless salt pork, beans and hardtack served during the journey.) :)
 

me_little_me

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Don't forget the original Transcontinental Railroad. Omaha to Sacramento? Talk about a "road to nowhere" with nothing in between back in 1863. Right after it was finished in 1869, you still couldn't run through trains from the east coast because there was no bridge across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs. But if they hadn't built it, people would still be sailing around the Horn to get from New York to California. (Except for the hardy ones taking "land cruises" in covered wagons, and complaining in the online forum "Wagon Train Unlimited" about the surly trail guides and the tasteless salt pork, beans and hardtack served during the journey.) :)
And don't forget the odors from the "engines" of those wagons preceding yours, the lack of A/C and heat as will as the lack of hospitality of the local natives on whose land you were trespassing. That's the reason Al Gore held off inventing the internet! :)
However, the internet and texting soon followed in 1844 although it was called the telegraph. Google, in those days, listened on the wires and collected personal information on everyone who used it.
 

TrackWalker

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Don't forget the original Transcontinental Railroad. Omaha to Sacramento? Talk about a "road to nowhere" with nothing in between back in 1863...
Not surprisingly a similar argument ("from nowhere to nowhere") was used against building the Northern Pacific between St. Paul and Puget Sound.
 
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