Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by RandallW
 
eolesen wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 6:00 pm
lensovet wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 11:14 am And since when does the legislature have the authority to withhold this money? Apparently their latest request is to scrap electrification and use battery powered trains. What?
Are you seriously questioning their authority?

Civics 101 teaches you that the Legislature has the power of the purse, and halting or reining in an out of control project from spending money is one of those pesky checks and balances that exist for good cause.

Y'all howled when the previous Administration tried to shut off the spigot of Feddybucks, but that was done for the same exact reasons: this project has violated just about every commitment, covenant, deadline, and budgetary estimate made when it was first approved. They're in breach of contract. A responsible group of politicians would have shut this down four years ago.
The legislators of the State of California do not have the authority to shut down this project or really to withhold funding for it, as the Constitution of the State of California mandates its construction. Note also that when projects like this get delayed, the delay itself can ballon the cost of the project, and this one has been fought tooth and nail from the get go despite its legal imperative.
  by eolesen
 
RandallW wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 7:11 pm The legislators of the State of California do not have the authority to shut down this project or really to withhold funding for it, as the Constitution of the State of California mandates its construction.
Please, do tell us where the California Constitution mandates the high speed rail project. I've just skimmed all of the amendments from 2000 onward, and see nothing of the sort.
  by RandallW
 
eolesen wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 12:05 am
RandallW wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 7:11 pm The legislators of the State of California do not have the authority to shut down this project or really to withhold funding for it, as the Constitution of the State of California mandates its construction.
Please, do tell us where the California Constitution mandates the high speed rail project. I've just skimmed all of the amendments from 2000 onward, and see nothing of the sort.
Sorry; I got the process conflated with the result -- the referendum for Constitutional amendment in California is structurally the same as the referendum that led to section 2704 of the California Streets and Highway code being added to California law. From that section it is my understanding that construction of the high speed railroad in California is obligated by law.

It would be one thing for the legislature to amend section 2704, it is quite another to ignore it.
  by eolesen
 
2704 is simply Prop 1A added to the state code, allowing the sale of bonds up to $9B and directs how those funds can be distributed.

The Legislature can still kill the project as far as I can tell.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by west point
 
lensovet wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 11:14 am How would handing this over to a private company speed up utility relocation and land acquisition projects?
Utility relocations can be a very mixed bag. On a project I was working had a utility not wanting to do the work before scheduled time. guess what? Utility delayed us 8 months. Had a relocation the DOT needed immediately done for emergency. Know the utility relocation for one block of Atlanta streetcar took over 1 extra year due to some 14 different crossing. Utilities do not cooperate with each other with IMO attitude we are the best to determine how crossing will be implemented. No compromise~~~~!!!

Of course, Why not aerial instead of underground? So, the incident on the NEC is a good example of what will happen sooner or later.

Then you have the problem of PG&E very high voltages crossing that realigning a crossing. Nimbies will say why extra real estate outside of planned tracks or stations.
  by lensovet
 
eolesen wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 1:18 pm 2704 is simply Prop 1A added to the state code, allowing the sale of bonds up to $9B and directs how those funds can be distributed.

The Legislature can still kill the project as far as I can tell.

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
And where in 1A does it say that legislature can randomly hold the funds hostage on a whim?

Last I checked in Civics 101, even the legislature is not above the law.
  by eolesen
 
The $9B from 1A appears to already have been spent... If Newsom is asking for 4.2B above and beyond the bond funding, Legislatures are always within their authority to say no.

When projects miss targets and go grossly over budget or the scheduled timeline, it's the legislature's obligation to fix it or shut it down.

CAHSRA has had 13 years to fix itself.

Time to tank it.
Last edited by eolesen on Sun May 15, 2022 9:35 am, edited 1 time in total.
  by RandallW
 
Do note that the $9B voted on was explicitly authorized only to pay for < 1/2 of the project. Which means if the legislature refuses other funding to complete the project they now have to find $9B to pay back bonds...or create another state authority to take over the project (which I am sure means a decade spent in court as people who want to prove the project would fail fight to make sure it does) while still needing to service that original debt.
  by eolesen
 
The flip side of your argument is that the legislature could simply choose to repay the $9B and not get any further into the hole.

CA is slowly realizing they're broke. If they don't have the $4.2B for stopgap funding where is the remaining $80B going to come to complete the project? Thus isn't a Gateway significance project in terms of national priorities.
  by HenryAlan
 
eolesen wrote: Sun May 15, 2022 8:57 am CA is slowly realizing they're broke.
LOL, they just announced a $95 billion surplus, they are not remotely broke.
  by lpetrich
 
San Francisco to San Jose Project Section: Environmental Documents - California High Speed Rail
The California High-Speed Rail Authority (Authority) has prepared the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the San Francisco to San Jose Project Section (Project Section, or project) of the California High-Speed Rail (HSR) System. The Final EIR/EIS has been prepared and is being made available pursuant to both the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
I read the linked documents on the alternatives continued, and the planners seem very thorough, considering and eliminating a variety of options: I-280, US-101, East Bay routes, viaducts, trenches, tunnels, and most multiple-tracking options. They considered viaducts, trenches, and/or tunnels along most of the route, 4 tracks for (north) Bayshore - Millbrae, (short middle) S of San Mateo - N of Redwood City, (long middle) S of San Mateo - S of Redwood City (south) San Antonio - Lawrence, and 3 tracks for S of San Mateo - San Antonio.

They decided to continue with no extra track and the short middle 4-track option, Alternatives A and B. Both of them will require some modifications of the now-under-construction electrification infrastructure.

At the San Jose Diridon station, they considered several alternatives, including viaducts and tunnels and a new HSR station near the existing station, but they decided on three: in the existing tracks, a viaduct between Scott Blvd. and Tamien station, and a viaduct between I-880 and Tamien station. The two viaduct options follow the existing tracks north of Diridon, the Scott Blvd. crossing is between the Santa Clara and Lawrence stations, and the I-880 crossing between the College Park and Santa Clara stations. South of Diridon, the viaduct routes would depart eastward from the existing tracks at San Carlos St., go over the SW part of the I-280/SR-87 interchange, and meet the existing tracks at Willow St.
  by lpetrich
 
The planning documents include lots of details on some of the stations. For 4th & King, they have plans in the absence of a tunnel to the Transbay Terminal. Four of the twelve station tracks will be taken over by HSR, along with two of the six station platforms. Caltrain will contain to have low platforms, while HSR will get high platforms.

That tunnel, the Downtown Extension one, would start at the SW end of the existing station real estate and go NE under Townsend St. to 2nd St., then NW to Natoma St. then NE into the TBT. That tunnel will be about 1.5 miles long.

The Millbrae station currently has two Caltrain tracks with side platforms, and from the plans, it will be expanded westward by two tracks, with the resulting central platform being a high one for HSR.

In San Jose Diridon, for using the existing tracks, HSR would also take up four tracks and two platforms, with those ones also being high. For the two viaduct options, HSR would be elevated in Diridon station also, with four tracks and two platforms.
  by lpetrich
 
Also at the Final EIR/EIS stage is LA - Burbank.
Burbank to Los Angeles Project Section: Environmental Documents - California High Speed Rail

The Burbank Airport Station is expected to be in a tunnel, and the HSR tracks will go south, then emerge just south of what I call the Burbank Junction. They will then parallel the existing tracks to LA Union Station, on the west side of those tracks. Downtown Burbank station will be Metrolink-only, and will have underpasses underneath the HSR and Metrolink tracks.


Environmental Planning - California High Speed Rail has an overall view.

Environmental clearance is now done for all of Phase 1 except for Palmdale - Burbank and LA - Anaheim. Those segments should be done by next year.

I think that the Central Valley Wye and the Wye - San Jose segment are the most plausible candidates for the next round of track-construction funding. That will get the HSR tracks into the San Francisco Bay Area even if not to SF itself at first. So a SF - LA trip will go

SF - Caltrain - SJ - HSR - Bakersfield - bus - LA
  by lpetrich
 
I've seen the argument that Bakersfield - Palmdale should be done next, to close the passenger-RR gap between the Central Valley and southern CA. But the San Jose - CV Wye will also close a RR gap.
  • SJ - Gilroy - Chowchilla (where the wye is): 115 mi
  • SJ - Fremont - Livermore - Manteca - Chowchilla: 141 mi
A 26-mile difference.

NEWS RELEASE: California High-Speed Rail Authority Pursues First Major Award Of New Federal Infrastructure Funds - California High Speed Rail - "Seeks Nearly $1.3 Billion in Federal Funds for MEGA-projects" - May 24, 2022
  • Constructing the second track for the initial operating segment between Merced and Bakersfield, beginning with the two tracks on the first 119 miles currently being built in the Central Valley.
  • Advancing design work for the extensions to Merced and Bakersfield.
  • Station development in Fresno and Kings/Tulare.
  • Purchasing six fully electric train sets capable of speeds in excess of 200 mph.
  • Advancing the next phase of design for two segments into the Bay Area (Merced to San Jose and San Jose to San Francisco) and into Southern California (Bakersfield to Palmdale and Burbank to Los Angeles).
So their planned IOS (Initial Operating Segment) is Merced - Bakersfield, even less than the earlier proposals of IOS-North (to San Jose) and IOS-South (to Burbank).

Seems like the most construction work that they have committed to is between Merced and Bakersfield, and the only parts without construction are Merced - Madera and Poplar St. - Bakersfield. The stations listed in that press release are Merced, Fresno, Kings/Tulare, and Bakersfield, with no mention of Madera, also planned for the system. The total distance is about 164 miles, with a likely travel time of about 1 hour, nearly 3 times faster than driving speed.
  by lpetrich
 
I think that to be fully useful, this rather truncated line will need lots of connector buses ("Ambuses"), like what Amtrak California already does. Home pages for the three AC lines: A plausible effective speed for these buses is 50 mph, which I calculated from the schedules, and I'll use that. That makes Merced - Bakersfield (164 mi) 3 h 17m. For 150 mph for the train, that's 1h 6m.

The main connecting bus routes:
  • San Francisco - Oakland - Hayward - Manteca - Merced: 131 mi -- 2h 37m
  • San Jose - Gilroy - Madera: 127 mi -- 2h 32m
  • Los Angeles - Bakersfield: 111 mi -- 2h 13m
So it's bus 2.5 hours - train 1 hour - bus 2.5 hours, with some waiting time in between the modes.

For SJ - Madera (or Merced) HSR, that's 52 min, with SF - SJ by Caltrain 1 to 1.5 hours. By HSR, SF - SJ would be somewhat faster than 1 hour, because the the trains would be express-stop and not much faster than the Caltrains.

Bfld - Palmdale is about 95 mi, or by HSR 38 min, and Palmdale - LA about 54 mi, or by bus 1h 5m. Metrolink takes 2 hours.

Palmdale - Burbank is about 53 mi, or by HSR 21 min, and Burbank - LA about 12 mi. Metrolink takes about 20 min, and HSR will likely not be much faster.
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