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Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:40 PM

California high-speed rail dealt blow by Newsom's about-face


In California, where Democrats and Republicans don't agree on much, the emergence of Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom as the state's highest-ranking Democrat to pull his support for Gov. Jerry Brown's high-speed rail project is being closely watched as the possible harbinger of political change.

Newsom has a knack for getting out in front on issues - most famously in his 2004 backing of same-sex marriage, and more recently in endorsing legalized marijuana. Although he was an early and ardent supporter of the bullet train, Newsom said in a phone interview Tuesday that "it's not the same system that was being promoted" when it first came before voters in 2008.

"We were selling a $32 billion project then, and we were going to get roughly one-third from the federal government and the private sector," he said. "We're not even close to the timeline (for the project), we're not close to the total cost estimates, and the private sector money and the federal dollars are questionable." ......................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.sfgate.com/politics/article/California-high-speed-rail-dealt-blow-by-Newsom-s-5246249.php



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Reply California high-speed rail dealt blow by Newsom's about-face (Original post)
marmar Feb 2014 OP
madrchsod Feb 2014 #1
proudretiredvet Feb 2014 #2
Xithras Feb 2014 #5
A HERETIC I AM Feb 2014 #7
Xithras Feb 2014 #9
Jesus Malverde Feb 2014 #8
xchrom Feb 2014 #3
XemaSab Feb 2014 #4
Egalitarian Thug Feb 2014 #6

Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 03:51 PM

1. sounds like he is facing reality

California needs to invest in desalinization plants and other public works project. high speed rail for the privileged few should not be a top priority.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #1)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 04:28 PM

2. I agree with him.

 

But there is a BUT in here too. We have a big need for high speed rail. The problem is that this subject, research, plans, and funding opportunities are drenched in politics and shadows. That makes me want to step back and see where the money is going.

California can not be sucked into a huge project without having a secure plan in place to fund it. We can not get into a construction project that we do not know the total cost of.

I believe that the future of rapid transportation is with the rails and not planes. This is someplace we must go. We just have to use caution and good common since in how we get there.

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Response to proudretiredvet (Reply #2)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 05:30 PM

5. We really only need a new Tehachapi link to get something better going.

It's already been demonstrated several times that we could do a 5 hour train trip on existing tracks, if we had the will to do so AND added a new link over the Tehachapis. The existing Santa Fe rail line is already rated for 80MPH trains, and can be updated to 95MPH with only a few minor updates (there are some ungated crossings that would need to be fixed, and some urban corridors that need better fencing).

Add a few Express BART runs a day from SF to Martinez. Coordinate its schedule with a new nonstop express run on the current San Joaquin corridor to Bakersfield, and then across a new Techachapi crossing to Lancaster. Add in an express run on the existing Metrolink running from Lancaster to L.A. Union Station. If the track speed can be bumped to 95MPH, that entire trip will only take about 5 hours. That's only 90 minutes slower than the current "bullet train" under discussion, and can be done RIGHT NOW at a tiny fraction of the cost of the bullet train.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 06:18 PM

7. A "New Tehachapi crossing" would not be cheap.

Not by any stretch.

Bakersfield elevation = 400 feet
Tehachapi elevation = 3970 feet
Lancaster/Palmdale/Antelope Valley elevation = 2600 feet give or take.

The current rail line is for the most part on the surface. There are numerous tunnels, but the line pretty much climbs up the surface of the mountain range. It has dozens of rather sharp curves and its most notorious feature - The Tehachapi Loop - is in no way capable of speeds much in excess of 40 mph.

In order to put in a line capable of 80 mph speeds that would get from Bakersfield to Lancaster/Palmdale they would have to pretty much tunnel the entire way with no more than a 3% grade.

Such a tunnel would cost billions.

I've driven up and down CA Route 58 scores of times and it parallels the current rail line for much of the way. Putting in a line capable of high speed trains would be a massive undertaking.

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Response to A HERETIC I AM (Reply #7)

Fri Feb 21, 2014, 01:29 PM

9. Proposition 1A created $10 billion for high speed rail.

The rail authority has already redefined "high speed rail" more than once and has pretty bluntly stated that "high speed" means whatever they say it means, and that the limitations of the original bond measure do not apply. The argument could easily be made that a sub 5 hour trip on a 90-100MPH conventional system qualifies.

You could build one hell of a Tehachapi crossing for $10 billion. I'm pretty sure there'd be enough left over to add some new express rolling stock as well, and some high speed sidings in some sections to eliminate the conflicts with freight trains entirely.

It's a hell of a lot better than building a redundant rail line connecting Madera to Bakersfield, which is the current plan.

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Response to Xithras (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 07:00 PM

8. Anything is preferable to the current plan.

I wish they would start building from a metro area like sf or la it's just going to get more expensive not less to build in those areas.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 04:38 PM

3. du rec.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 04:54 PM

4. I wonder what would happen if all public transit in the state was

consolidated under a single authority, and one of the first tasks of the new authority was to map where there is an unmet demand for public transportation and attempt to meet that need.

I would not be surprised if such an endeavor saved 10x more carbon per year than HSR would.

I'd love to see a really tight rail system in this state, but if you can't get from Millbrae to Mill Valley without navigating the vagaries of 3 different public transit systems, how's a train from LA to San Francisco going to make your life better?

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Response to XemaSab (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 20, 2014, 05:54 PM

6. By avoiding LAX. n/t

 

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