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High-speed rail hits speedbump in its Caltrain partnership

Original post made on Mar 11, 2013

What was billed as a historic occasion for the California High-Speed Rail Authority and its Bay Area partners ended on an awkward note Wednesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, March 8, 2013, 2:13 PM

Comments (10)

Posted by LMP, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2013 at 7:11 am

If this train that we cannot afford, no one wants, and goes nowhere is actually built, let us remember which politicians pushed it through.


Posted by Julia, a resident of Alamo
on Mar 11, 2013 at 9:39 am

LMP...you are absolutely correct...

But the trouble with some of us, is that we have a very short memory. I have always said it...VOTE OUT THE INCUMBENTS and start with fresh new blood and if they screw up vote them also.

Thanks for Listening, Julia Pardini from Alamo


Posted by PSMacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:11 am

It is hard to tell whether this is good news.....or not!?!
I am 100% AGAINST this boon-doggle of a super waste of money called the HIGH SPEED RAIL. So any vote that stops or slows it is a GOOD thing!
However, this particular vote AGAINST a BLENDED system is BAD, it seems. Why build a separate track and separate electricity system that CalTrain (and others?) can't use or share?
IF our taxpayer money has to be wasted on this brain-dead project, then the BLENDED APPROACH seems to be the best method to go. We waste a lot of money on an idea that may never be completed, but at least there are some entities and counties that might get some side-benefit from the items that are built.
It should cost less to do a Blended System, than to build an entirely new Single Use System solely dedicated to the High Speed Rail alone and developed in addition and alongside existing transportation systems. And it would be nice to have multiple and additional (fallback) uses for the expensive boon-doggle system.
Hey, I'M STILL WAITING TO SEE THE MARKETING REPORTS (projections) for how many people will use this High Speed Train, how often, from where to where, and how much they would pay. I don't think it will EVER pay for itself. Even if the numbers are completely fabricated out of thin air, where are the numbers and WHO has their name on the report?


Posted by PSMacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:12 am

The only train idea that I could even BEGIN to get onboard with (pun intended) is a FERRY TRAIN--an express train that you could drive cars and trucks onto and then off of at certain key destination/mileage points. This type of train would serve a LOT of uses for us all. It would get a lot of long-distance trucks and cars off the road. It would still allow those cars and trucks to carry other necessary items and then immediately (without re-loading hassles) proceed to run "the last mile" routes. It would reduce the needs to build new highways and lanes. It could carry passengers. It would not be AS fast, but it could be fairly fast and very efficient. And perhaps, with the right planning and organization, the same TRACKS could be used by OTHER trains (CalTrain, etc.) as well--Just need some side tracks for passing situations.


Posted by PSMacintosh, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2013 at 10:22 am

LMP,

Good comment!
Why don't you start a LIST with the names of the High Speed Train SUPPORTERS on it?
Also, a LIST of the NON-SUPPORTERS (so we know who to vote for).

I don't think people are going to remember WHO they are (and will they really be around long enough for us to vote against them?).
There is no accountability in politics.

Some of these people will not even be in VOTABLE positions, but will be government/agency "employees" (promoters, planners, engineers, environmentalists, union advocates, contractors, lobbyists, etc.).


Posted by JT, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Let's see how the numbers work out... by allocating the $67,000,000,000 investment to the cost of each ticket.
Let's assume there is no interest on the bonds/funds and we will give the Rail Authority (RA) a generous 30 years to pay off the investment.

$67,000,000,000 Divided By 30 Years = $2,233,000,000 Per Year, that is $2.3 Billion per year to retire the investment funds.

Now lets assume there are 10 Million train riders per year, so we can calculate the cost per ticket to retire the debt.

$2.233B Divided by 10M Tickets per year = $223 per ticket!!!

Maybe you think my assumption of 10 Million riders per year is off. The following report estimates for year 2010 that there will be about 20,000,000 Air and Auto trips between LA and SF. So 10M Tickets is a reasonable 50% capture rate.

Who is going to pay the $223 per ticket? In fact you will see that the analysis is entirely predicated on the system not recouping the investment. This is why most people think the HSR is a terrible idea. It is a government funded boondoogle!!!


Posted by JT, a resident of Danville
on Mar 11, 2013 at 12:54 pm

Here is the report.
Web Link


Posted by jake, a resident of Alamo
on Mar 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I am skeptical of any program, even good ones, that depends on government to be completed. New span for the Bay Bridge: original estimate was $1.5B but it will cost close t $8B and 6 yrs behind the schedule! If the Hi-Speed train is a good idea, let the private sector and investors do it. To the best of my recollection, there no government operated mass transit system in the world that pays for itself.


Posted by C. R. Mudgeon, a resident of Danville
on Mar 12, 2013 at 12:09 pm

JT - good analysis, and thanks for posting the report. It's important to have the facts.

Hundreds of years from now, archeologists will puzzle over the steel rails that they uncover, running from the ruins of Merced, to the ruins of Bakersfield. They will wonder: Why did the rails start and stop at these out-of-the-way places? Who were the people who built them, and for what purpose? Perhaps they will conclude that the rails were part of some religious rites....

I actually think that it MIGHT be possible to have a viable high-speed rail line linking the Bay Area to the LA area. But not with our state (and local) governments in charge. By the time it is complete, it will already be semi-obsolete. And it will cost 2-4 times what today's already-boosted cost esimates are. You can already see it following the path of the Bay Bridge, with local government entities squabbling, delays, major cost increases, etc.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Danville
on Mar 14, 2013 at 12:33 pm

When BART was being planned in 1960, the population of Walnut Creek was fewer than 10,000 people. Who would have imagined that a mere 40 years later it would be over 64,000? Wanna bet there were naysayers in 1960 dismaying that BART was a boondoggle and that it would never be important to places like Walnut Creek?


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