Let’s Talk About The Great High Speed Train Robbery

They always approach with a warm smile...

Down in Anaheim Cynthia Ward (aka Colony Rabble) has been trying to raise the profile of the California High Speed Rail (CHSR) project that will inevitably cut a swath out of neighborhoods as it makes its way to Curt Pringle’s Platinum Triangle Ghost Town.

In Fullerton (except for us) I’ve heard nary a word.

It’s pretty evident that this massive boondoggle was promoted to bamboozle the State’s electorate into floating another 10 billion dollars of indebtedness and to divert it into the pockets of huge engineering and public works contractors. Conservatives used to call this income redistribution. Now some of them call it jobs, jobs, jobs.

My good friend popular Mayor Curt Pringle has taught me this much...

It is telling that Repuglicans Curt Pringle and Harry Sidhu both back this massive waste, plus the unconscionable OCTA uber-subsidy for their ARTIC choo-choo stop, as does Anaheim’s own Precious Princess Lorri Galloway, a union puppet who can be expected to do anything necessary to promote expanded union membership.

But I digress, yet again. Damn. Sorry.

How come there has been almost no discussion about this monster project and its potential right-of-way through Fullerton? Buena Park has recently learned to its dismay that the HSR will either take out part of their station or dozens of newly built houses built as part of a TOD scheme. Does our City Council know something they’re not telling us?

No. We don't anticipate any big environemental issues.

So what is happening in Fullerton? There is only one available route from BP to Anaheim, of course, and it will have to follow the BNSF/old UP rights-of-way. What will this mean to property owners and businesses in the way? What sort of traffic disruptions will this cause over the major north-south streets over the years? Aren’t we entitled to know?

At the January NUFF forum Shawn Nelson came out against the HSR; but what of the other councilmembers? Isn’t it time for a public hearing on this topic if, indeed anybody in City Hall is serious about transparency?

Shawn? Sharon? Pam? Dick? Don? Is there something you’d like to share with us? Why not agendize this issue. Now. Let’s have at it out in the open.

And maybe this should be a campaign issue for the fall. And maybe we need somebody on the OCTA like Nelson who is not going to just go along with Pringle.

P.S. For some fun watch this CNN video that is really little more than an infomercial for HSR: what a sweet deal for the tiny percentage of California’s 40 million people who just have to get between LA and SF in a hurry (they won’t, of course).

Try not to giggle at Pringle’s performance, if you can.

43 Replies to “Let’s Talk About The Great High Speed Train Robbery”

  1. Excellent post! When I first heard of the HSR I began laughing. I could not understand (and still do not) how a small fraction of west-siders and bay watchers could get their own rail system on the backs of the rest of us. An L.A. to Vegas HSR makes much more sense but the airline lobbyists keep shutting down the idea.
    There is another concern. Can the HSR make the necessary turns at sufficiently high speeds along the current BNSF track alignment to deem it high-speed? If not, why bother having any HSR in OC? Also, if it can’t use that BNSF alignment, will they take out hundreds of homes and businesses in order to achieve a high-speed alignment?
    This HSR is just a bad idea lobbied for by the bay area’s Local 3, Operating Engineers and Surveyors. Being a licensed surveyor with a firm that employs members of the sister union, Local 12, I can tell you these union are starving for their worker’s dues and will do ANYTHING to fabricate work even if it means breaking taxpayer’s banks!

  2. Yep. Completely driven by a coalition of special interests. How many people would use this? A few thousand of the same people?

    I wonder if anybody has adequately calculated in the slow-downs and stops along the way – say for 10 or 15 station stops such as:

    South Peninsula
    San Jose
    Salinas/King City
    Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo
    Santa Maria
    Santa Barbara
    West Valley
    Union Station
    North OC

    What a scam.

    1. Yes it’s a scam Joe, but it’s going up the Central Valley with all those intermediate stops like enchanting Bakersfield and Fresno, etc.

      Of course when you get there you will still have to rent a car or take a bus or have some one pick you up.

  3. Mr. Pea you are mistaken if you think that the HSR will come thru Fullerton. Fullerton Staff is covering up Pringle’s deceptive “inclusive” approach so that boneheads like Dr Heehaw Jones can preach to us how great are the things they are doing. They know damn good and well that the Fullerton alignment scheme is impractical (although practicality never stopped government waste). Yet bamboozling the Council is so easy that its fun for them. But the prospect sure makes for a lot of busy work and ample opportunity for staffers to spend time attending workshops, playing charrettes etc. In the mean time they just wait out the clock to retire fat on your dime

    1. TR, I’m not following you.

      How would it get from Buena Park Metrolink to Anaheim without going through Fullerton? The only other alignment
      that would get you to the vicinity of the Stadium/Triangle
      would be the UP line that runs alongside the Interstate 5. But that doesn’t connect to the BNSF/Metrolink line in BP and it runs down the center of Santa Ana Street in Anaheim, before taking several right angle turns.

      1. The 5FWY gets pretty close to both BP and Anaheim stations. I don’t want to give anyone any ideas but stacking the rail over the 5FWY would get a straighter overall alignment from LA to BP and on to Anaheim and would end with hundreds, maybe thousands of homes and businesses being condemned.

  4. Greg, a high speed train to Vegas will never happen. They won’t even widen the 15 because it would only accelerate California’s tax losses to Nevada. On top of that, the Indian casino lobby is extremely powerful. Ask Dick Ackerman.

  5. Check out the Alternatives Analysis page on the High Speed Rail website, in the Library section. It shows aerial views of where this insane piece of work is going. My focus has been on Anaheim, and to that end, the line ends at the senior mobile home park that straddles the Anaheim to Fullerton boundary, alongside the Metrolink line. That is where it enters Fullerton, and becomes your headache.
    I understand you will get a meeting with the HSRA consultants in Fullerton in April, because they cannot do a meeting for the mobile home park on the boundary until afterward (I am trying to get info for Mom and her friends who live there) so you guys are next in line for info.Nice of them to finally tell you what is happening, a full year after the AA was completed! However, if you want a preview of the prevarication, there is an open public meeting tonight to discuss HSR in Anaheim. The Anaheim Historical Society is hosting the meeting at the Loara Elementary School Auditorium at 7 pm, it is free and open to non-members. You would be welcome to come see how Anaheim is being handled to get a taste for how to engage them in Fullerton, although they will be unable to answer Fullerton questions tonight. They are totally hamstrung by multiple levels of management and red tape, and seeing how these meetings are handled may well help you construct your approach to your own meeting. I would love to see activists from all of the affected OC communities come together to discuss this, politics and personal animosity aside. Do you think we could do that without killing each other?

  6. Why on earth does it need to come through OC at all? If one could make the argument for a HSR from LA to SF, why have it begin south of LA? There are already connecting Amtrak and Metrolink trains to Union Station, where HSR could begin its journey to SF. Do people need to get there THAT fast? It isn’t that hard to count to two trains if you want to get somewhere by rail.

  7. It was supposed to stop at Union Station. Mayor Curt decided to bring it south to Anaheim. As far as the route, you would think that running it up the 5 FWY would work, only CalTrans to deal with instead of all those nasty city governments and NIMBYs fighting for their own communities. But that was dismissed as not viable many years ago, by whom or why was not really revealed. So the ONLY route being discussed is the existing rail line, and the “alternatives” presented in the Alternatives Analysis are limited to whether to go At Grade, Deep Bore Tunnel, or in some communities, an overhead structure that dwarfs the neighborhood it hovers above. Those are your choices. And God forbid you do not like them, you will be called nasty names, and in some cases sent death threats.

  8. As I recall, Larry Gilebrt of Mission Viejo has some very interesting numbers regarding rail subsidies and taxpayer costs. I heard him speak out against Measure M while Supervisor Bill Campbell spoke in favor of it. Larry killed him with his data.

    Hopefully Larry will read this and post some information on the astronomical numbers of taxPayer dollars spent on rail.

    1. What about freeway subsidies at taxpayer cost? I have no problem with the government funding mass transit if it serves a sensible amount of people. I ride amtrak, metrolink, and the LA subways, and I can tell you from experience that the cars are full.

      It costs taxpayer money to pay for air pollution related illnesses caused by car exhaust as well. There is always a subsidy somewhere.

      1. The government, until recently, never subsidized the purchase of the car you drive in on the freeway. Freeways carry more people then Amtrak or MetroLink. As I recall, the data showed it would be cheaper to buy everyone who rode the train a Lexus than subsidize rail.

        Your ability to ride trains is at a tremendous cost to the taxpayer. The fees you pay in no way pays for the actual cost. If your ticket reflected the actual cost, you’d spend about half your yearly salary for it.

        If your so happy paying subsidies, then your gonna have an ObamaGasm when you get your bill for the Socialist Medical Program (National Health Care).

  9. Pringle’s handled this very badly — but that’s the cost of guaranteeing yourself a job (and revenue for your consulting firm) once your imperial reign as Mayor is over — and thank Governor 27% Approval for that appointment.

    For years, Pringle’s wanted some sort of connection between Anaheim and Ontario Airport — a much larger faciility that connects better to the east coast than John Wayne. Of course, this is all for Disney’s benefit (and works for his local hotels too). But when he got his Chairmanship of the CHSRA, this strategy went out the window as Mayor Termed Out is sold out and gives not a sh*t now. CHSRA couldn’t find Ontario on a map.

    Btw, today’s Las Vegas Sun as a story about the LV-Anaheim maglev getting screwed out of $45 milllion by Harry Reid — not that this idea ever had much of a chance (it would’ve routed through Ontario to the ARTIC white elephant), but now it’s set back another generation — not that, as mentioned above, the Indian casinos would have ever let it happen.

  10. So we all agree that this is a bad idea, politically motivated. The question is WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?! For starters you can contact Diane Harkey and support AB 2121, which reverses the funding on the whole thing. But in the event that fails, you better begin educating yourselves, and gather money for lawyers, because it is doubtful that your local government will protect you from the politically connected dealmakers any better than Anaheim City Council has protected us here to the south. Are you going to complain, or get off your butts and take action?

  11. CR, many on this blog support Shawn Nelson, who opposes HSR, for the 4th Supervisorial District which includes most of Anaheim. Winning this office also puts him on the OCTA Board where he can be a regular voice against this boondoggle. How about coming out for him yourself?

  12. I have come out in support of Shawn Nelson, and I will be hosting an event for him at my home, as well as introducing him to people he needs to know here in Anaheim. But you need to understand something. The OCTA cannot stop this, even if every member of the OCTA board stood up to this boondoggle, they would be overruled by this State project. State takes precendence over local government. Up north, entire Cities are fighting this, but HSRA is more powerful than Mayors or City Councils or County Supervisors. They can help, but nothing stops them so far. The best thing local gov’t can do is hire professionals to help us fight. They can hire lawyers and environmental specialists to go over the HSRA environmental docs looking for mistakes. Some have hired lobbyists to try getting the ears of those in Sacramento who might help us locally. So while I support Shawn Nelson, and he can help us at the County level, even he cannot stop this, we need to fight together. Now I ask again, what are you going to do to help yourselves? If your City Council will not help you, then you will have to help yourselves and start raising the money for lawyers. We need to unite. Can we set aside our other differences and help each other? Or do we sit back and bicker and let them bulldoze our neighborhoods?

    1. Colony Rabble, we are a lot alike, and I really like your idea, let’s unite and FIGHT ! ! !

      Unfortunately, I can’t make tonight’s meeting, but I hope to see you soon 🙂

  13. You people live in one the most crap hole places here in Cali..YES white Trash its called Santa Ann .Orange is for the farm fields ..Dust bowl invaders..NOW HSR will do nothing for reb trash..its to far over your heads..maby for the Majorty of “real” Californias it will be a great benfit..Now how do we get rid of you rebublican trash

  14. Wait for it.

    Shared use. More to come as details are worked out. It’s not HSR between Union Station and Anaheim or in any other built up area. The question is why should we have HSR when we allready have Metrolink and AMTRAK serving the same area. Keep your eye out for more.

    1. Art, thanks for that.

      OCTA and Metro are asking all right, but good luck! The HSR is an electric choo-choo with overhead conductors which means a dedicated track. I can’t see BNSF going for that.

      BTW, those HSR mouthholes are pitching 100 mph+ between LA and Anaheim.

      Also, FYI, Art it’s amazing how OCTA is pimping this too. I spoke with a woman the other day who works for OCTA who actually got agitated because I had the temerity to question the cost and utility of HSR.

      HSR to Anaheim is Pringle’s brainchild. Next time you see him ask him why the taxpayers of OC (Measure M) are supposed to foot the bill for 75% of that ARTIC boondoggle – $140,000,000.

  15. I thought I would offer the real deal about railroading between Los Angeles and Fullerton, Anaheim, Santa Ana because I’m intimately familiar with the current infrastructure. Not some political mumbo jumbo.

    The current running time by Amtrak, Los Angeles to Fullerton is 30 minutes. Running time is not schedule time, it’s the actual time needed from departure at one station to arrival at the other. Amtrak doesn’t stop but Metrolink does at Norwalk, Buena Park, and sometimes Commerce, adding another 5 minutes to the schedule, just between LA and Fullerton.

    Trains do not slow or accelerate quickly. Passenger trains do a better job, but even then they take a couple miles to reach full speed, which is 79 MPH between LA and Fullerton. South of Fullerton has a max speed of 79 or 90 MPH. But only Amtrak can do 90 MPH because Metrolink recently downgraded all of their equipment to a maximum speed of 79 MPH even though their own track can handle 90 MPH.

    I can’t divulge where I heard this but there are rumors of increased track speeds LA to Fullerton once Positive Train Control (PTC) is implemented and the remaining grade crossings (aka street crossings) are separated with underpasses. There’s only a small handful of streets that still cross the tracks west of Fullerton. Various engineering challenges exist as well. The curve at Buena Park is currently good for 70, Norwalk 75, then you have some UP railroad crossings in the Santa Fe Springs area (Los Nietos and DT Jct to be exact) that slow passenger trains down to 50. The area where several minutes are lost is entering and departing LA Union Station 10-25 MPH.

    I don’t know if the technology is attainable to build diesel locomotives capable of faster acceleration. Electric locomotives perform much better, but they’re electric. That’s the problem. The current right of way from “Soto” (about 4 miles southeast of downtown LA) to Fullerton is owned by BNSF. Amtrak and Metrolink are tenants. I firmly believe BNSF should not be forced into using electric locomotives because it doesn’t make sense for freight trains. Plus, they own the tracks.

    I think with innovative R&D it’s possible to shorten the commute LA to Fullerton by ten minutes without spending billions upon billions. Might take a billion initially, but that’s pocket change compared to HSR.

    This is for all you politicians reading this. Do you realize how stupid us railroaders think you are? The ideas you put on the table are beyond ridiculous. Why reinvent the wheel instead of improving upon what you already have, that’s what we would like to know.

    The sad part is having politicians without a damn clue about railroads and how they work. And this describes 100% of all politicians.

    1. Railroader, I generally stay out of the discussion on the blogs but too many people are unaware of what is about to happen. You are right on the money with your comment.

      The high speed rail travel time fron Anaheim to L.A. is estimated at 23 minutes WITHOUT a stop in Fullerton or Norwalk per the project manager last night at a presentation in Anaheim. This means that for untold billions of dollars and lives interrupted we might be able to shave a few minutes from the trip.

      Of course, as you point out, the trip could be potentially just as quick with
      metrolink if the grade separations are made for a fraction of tne cost and limited affect on the surrounding communities

  16. Fullerton has been offered a potential HSR station to shut us up.

    I for one don’t care if there’s a station or not. The thing’s a make work project for big multi-national engineering companies and unionized construction workers who live in Palmdale and San Bernardino. Pringle and Associates will be there every step of the way to skim what they can off the top.

    1. It’s possible that the proposal to add Fullerton as a stop is just another way to get an additional track in place to handle more Amtrak and Metrolink traffic (?). Much like the toll roads will eventually fail economically by design and be taken over by the state as the freeways the developers couldn’t get any other way.

  17. My email is lit up this morning with copies of a letter from OCTA to Curt Pringle asking them to revisit the Shared Use alternative. This would seem to create less impact, but it does not mitigate the fact that Shut Up and Ride is correct, this is a make work project, a select few foreign companies get to make serious bank on this deal, and we get to pay for it.
    I would like to discuss this face to face with any of the usual suspects in Fullerton who are interested. I will BBQ on Sunday for anyone who wants to talk. Call me to tell me how much food to put together and I will give you directions. 714-292-0042. And I would REALLY like to meet Railroader, if not for a semi-public BBQ, for a quiet and confidential coffee perhaps?
    Cynthia Ward

  18. March 23, 2010
    Curt Pringle, Chairman
    Califomia High Speed Rail Authority
    925 L Street, Suite 1425
    Sacramento, CA 95814

    Dear Chairman Pringle:

    The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) have been working collaboratively with the California High Speed Rail Authority (CAHSRA) on the development of the Anaheim to Los Angeles segment of the California High Speed Rail Project. As the development ofthe prqject continues, we want to work with the CAHSRA to ensure that the project is being planned in a comprehensive manner which allows for coordination of passenger demand, operations and infrastructure for all of the existing and planned passenger rail services within the Los Angeles to San Diego corridor.

    It is with this coordination in mind, that we respectfully request the CAHSRA to revisit the
    concept of a rational shared use option in the Anaheim to Los Angeles segment of the CASHRA project. As you know similar shared use options were analyzed and discarded as part of the Concept Level Operational Feasibility Report (July 2008) and the Preliminary Alternatives Analysis Report (April 2009). Since that time, only a dedicated High Speed Rail corridor has been under study between Anaheim and Los Angeles.

    In November of 2009, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) issued its first High Speed Passenger Rail Safety Strategy which provides a strategy for the development of shared use corridors. We believe this safety strategy has direct applicability to a shared use corridor option between Anaheim and Los Angeles. With the issuance of the High Speed Passenger Rail Safety Strategy, we believe that the FRA would be supportive of exploring a shared use option as part of the Alternatives Analysis currently underway. Finally, the reports prepared by the CASHRA staff and consultants did not contemplate any discussion of the rationalization of passenger services in the Anaheim to Los Angeles segment.

    As you know, the San Diego to Los Angeles rail conidor is the second busiest in passenger rail corridor in the nation. There are numerous agencies planning and operating passenger rail services in this corridor. As part of the development of the CAHSRA project between Anaheim and Los Angeles, we would like to work to make these services more coordinated and integrated. We believe the CAHSRA will play very important role in this effort.

    As the two largest member agencies of Metrolink (and the only two that fund the Metrolink service between Orange County and Los Angeles), we firmly believe that a proper analysis of the passenger demand and associated service levels of all three service providers (Amtrak, Metrolink and the CASHRA), will result in a comprehensive approach to passenger rail service in the LOSSAN Conidor. In fact, we believe that a very similar approach has been occurring between San Jose and San Francisco with the Caltrain service and the counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco. We believe that this model should be applied in the Anaheim to Los Angeles
    segment as well.

    We believe that this shared use altemative will significantly reduce the impacts upon the
    LOSSAN corridor communities between Los Angeles and Anaheim as it would not require viaducts, aerial structures and trenches. Addi6onally, there is the opportunity to limit the number of required grade separations, resulting in reduced right-of-way impacts.
    The CAHSRA will need to work closely with the City of Los Angeles; the participating cities in the Gateway Cities Council of Govemments Memorandum of Understanding; the cities of Anaheim, Fullerton and Buena Park, OCTA, and LACMTA to make best efforts towards resolving the potential impacts upon those communities as part of this project and work diligently to comply with the ARRA funding requirements.

    We believe that this analysis can be incorporated into the existing alternatives analysis and EIR/EIS with limited impact on overall schedule and resources if the appropriate
    direction is provided. It is our understanding that the CAHSRA plans to release a final
    Alternatives Analysis report on April 24, 2010. We believe that that report should not be
    released until this shared use alternative is fully examined.

    We respectfully request of the California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors take this matter up at its April 2010 Board meeting and to provide staff and its contractors and subcontractors the appropriate direction in the Anaheim to Los Angeles segment.
    In order to assist the CAHSRA in this effort, both OCTA and Metro are prepared to assign a single point of contact from our respective agencies to work directly with the CAHSRA staff on these very important issues. In addition, as member agencies of Metrolink, we will work to provide a single point of contact for Metrolink as well.

    Our two transportation agencies are very supportive of the high-speed rail project and look forward to working closely with the High Speed Rail Authority.

    Arthur T. Leahy
    Chief Executive Officer
    Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation

    Will Kempton
    Chief Executive Officer
    Orange County Transportation Authority

    cc: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors
    Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors
    LOSSAN Board of Directors
    Southem California Regional Rail Authority Board of Directors
    California High Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors
    William D. Bronte, Chief Caltrans Division of Rail
    Stephen Gardner, V.P., Policy & Development, Amtrak

  19. Colony, although I have disagreed with you on some items, I must say that I am very impressed with your knowledge of this issue and your desire to “Rally the Rabble” against this government boondoggle.

    I want to thank you for your input on this issue here on FFFF blog.

    Many times blogs offer enough anonymity that people get carried away and forget the commonalities we all share for better, more efficient government. That is the down side of blogs however, it is completely overshadowed by times when those we might not agree with all the time, the chance to win us over as we find ourselves on common ground.

  20. Shawn Nelson, about the 23 minutes, that’s one reason we think it’s a joke. What is that, like an average speed of 65 MPH?

    There’s 8 grade crossings in the five miles between the Fullerton and Anaheim stations, compared to 8 grade crossings in the 26 miles Fullerton to LA – a BIG difference. Most of the crossings west of Fullerton are small streets, like Highland Ave in Fullerton, so an underpass wouldn’t be a huge deal in terms of cost. I’m less supportive of shared use beyond Fullerton towards Anaheim. You’d have to build underpasses at every street to win my support.

    I know the politicians will never listen to me, but we’d be FAR better off with diesel locomotives instead of electric. Okay, diesel or an alternative fuel source, but not electric. Yes, there would be emissions, but so what. The technology is constantly improving. I have yet to see, however, a diesel locomotive with adequate acceleration to take advantage of the full track speeds. You waste a lot of time accelerating to 79 or 90 MPH. Some places it’s even unattainable because there isn’t enough distance to accelerate before you have to slow down again.

    The reason electric locomotives shouldn’t be the answer is it handcuffs electric trains to their own dedicated right of way. No sharing of trackage with freight trains because the overhead catenary lines create a clearance problem for freight trains. With a diesel locomotive, you could use it ANYWHERE the track supports high speeds. This would allow for new HSR to more cities at a fraction of the cost, and a fraction of the risk.

    I’m not sure what your interpretation of “shared use” is between LA and Anaheim. If you’re thinking shared right-of-way, as in building another track alongside the existing tracks, that is a total nightmare waiting to happen. There’s no more space. To do so would require significant use of eminent domain.

    I’m advocating high speed travel over the *existing* BNSF and Metrolink trackage after technological and engineering improvements can be made. That means NO ELECTRIC LOCOMOTIVES.

    I’ll tell you why the Obama administration is pushing HSR. The answer is Joe Biden. He used to commute on Amtrak’s HSR called the Northeast Corridor. It’s a mostly dedicated right of way, owned by Amtrak, using electric locomotives. The key phrase is owned by Amtrak.

    With few exceptions, all other trackage in the United States is owned by private, competitive, for-profit, FREIGHT railroads. Passenger trains are merely a tenant. Amtrak or the commuter railroads don’t call the shots.

    Politicians need to be wise in the way they negotiate with Freight Railroads. Running a railroad is a regulatory nightmare already, you don’t want to further destroy the ability to compete and be efficient, because that will only backfire on you and me later.

    I have yet to hear politicians suggest HSR for both passenger AND freight trains. The benefits would be enormous. Just think, UPS Ground shipments coast to coast in 2 days instead of 6 days. Improvements like that would make business all over the country much more competitive.

    Yet, the politicians are only focusing on passenger travel. Sigh.

    1. Railroader: In the SF Bay Area, Caltrain (their Metrolink-equivalent) is making plans for electrification that include the ability to accommodate AAR Plate H freight — tall enough for doublestacked containers and tri-level auto carriers — in the off hours. So not only can you design a system that allows electrified passenger and modern diesel freight traffic to share the same tracks, they’ll already be doing it elsewhere in California.

      1. Biff: You missed the point. BNSF, UP, CSXT, NS, OWN their trackage. They call the shots.

        Caltrain trackage between San Francisco and San Jose is owned by the public agencies behind Caltrain. UP has trackage rights to serve industries along the line, but no through freight trains. Why bother making it accessible for tri-level auto racks and double stacks when those types of trains don’t even use Caltrain trackage?

        There’s no way in hell BNSF, UP, NS, CSXT are going to bow down and run their freight trains in the “off hours” only. Do you realize what that would do to our economy? Shipments by rail would take 2x or 3x as long to reach their destinations, if they couldn’t move 24/7/365.

        I’m sorry, but that’s politician logic. Never seeing the big picture. Or the severe consequences that await.

  21. Plans are dime a dozen, even Pringles has a ‘plan’.

    They’ll have to do more than make plans before I’m interested.

  22. @someonewhoknowsnothing: I think everyone, no matter how different we may be, can find some common ground. Some days it is merely that we walk upright and we all love our kids and puppies, but it is a start. I have found that communities all over the State are frantic when they discover how bad this is. Defending hearth and home, and on some level our own pocketbooks, is a central theme that everyone can get behind, no matter who we might support for one office or another. I am happy to join together with anyone who sees this for the nightmare it is, and set aside other differences to unite. And yes, I also understand that working together on HSR would not insulate me from further attack in other areas, bring it on, but let’s work together on this, there are many people of diverse backgrounds who need to come together. Please. See my message above and come BBQ with me and let’s talk. You can bring the beer.

  23. California High Speed Rail Project – Time to Eliminate High Speed Rail funding


    There is someone in Sacramento that has stood up and said, “the Emperor has no clothes.” Diane Harkey, Assemblywoman from Orange County, has put forward a courageous bill, AB 2121, which would pull the plug on funding the High Speed Rail Project.

    Why would she propose such a bill? With a 30 years in banking and corporate finance, Harkey was attempting to find ways to save money for the state. “If we were a corporation, we’d be bankrupt.” She found a little known article in the state constitution. Article XVI says, “the legislature at any time after the approval of a general obligation bond act by the people, may reduce the amount of indebtedness authorized by the act to an amount not less than the amount contracted at the time of the reduction or to repeal the act if no debt is contracted.”
    Harkey looked at the debt California owes: 73 billion in General Obligation (GO) debt and another 48 billion left to borrow. Dissatisfied with the numbers, she started to work on the problem of “too much accumulated debt and not enough revenue.”

    Her original plan was to review some of the older uncommitted bonds on the books and she thought she’d shave off a little of this and a little of that, but then she came upon the High Speed Rail (HSR) bond. It was nearly fully outstanding with unspent bonds. Considering the financial condition it’s in, she wrote Assembly Bill 2121 to eliminate their funding. While HSR sounds like a good idea, “we have a chronic deficit that we’ll be looking at for at least the next 4-5 years of $20 billion.” She also cites our high unemployment which will result in lower revenue; the triple B rating adds cost to state borrowing. She also stated that, “we’ve borrowed from 719 internal accounts. There’s nowhere left to grab.”

    “The people of California expect us to set some priorities – that’s what we’re elected for – and they’d agree that we probably have much more important immediate needs such as education, local transportation, water and public safety. Health and Human Services is being cut tremendously for the aged and disabled.” She was looking for “ways to save money, ways to reduce debt and ways to keep the state afloat.”

    Since she wrote the bill, people have been coming to her in droves, thanking her. She has since discovered the Legislative Analyst’s Office findings that the 9 billion was a mere down payment of total cost which could be over 40 billion. And there are issues such as the questionable ridership, “sketchy financial proposals” and she believes that the project would have to be heavily subsidized. Harkey says while there may be benefits to high-speed rail, she believes it shouldn’t come at the expense of schools, local transportation, public safety, and health and human services.

    Rod Diridon is quoted in a local paper as saying, “my guess is [the bill] wouldn’t go very far.” At the most recent Board meeting in March, the High Speed Rail Authority voted to officially oppose the bill. Jeff Barker, Deputy Director for CHSRA said, “It was just introduced, so we typically wouldn’t comment on a bill that hasn’t even been heard in a committee yet.” Diane Harkey admits, “it may meet with a lot of resistance, maybe the bill will die. I think it’s worthy bringing forward, I would like to hear how the committee members and supporters justify funding with public money a project that doesn’t have a work plan, a business plan that has tracking, funding, timelines, guidelines and doesn’t have any assurance of more federal stimulus dollars and one that the state may have to cover insurance for the rail operation.”

    “We’re getting into something that we may not be able to afford for a very long time. We will be, in essence, pregnant with the bond and the funding and be stuck. We have to be very, very careful with what we do with the public money. We would not go to Wall Street with a private offering like this without all this backup data.”

    The bill will be heard in Sacramento at the Assembly Transportation meeting, tentatively on April 19 at 1 PM.

    For more information go to: http://arc.asm.ca.gov/member/73/?p=article&sid=217&id=222972

    The contact person is Sharon Gonzalves who can be reached at (916) 319-2073 or [email protected].

  24. UPDATE:
    I have heard from a number of people who are interested in HSR, but cannot do anything on Sunday. I will schedule something for another time. I will also send you info on how to correctly word responses to comments at your own upcoming HSR meeting in Fullerton, because there are things that will get your comments put on the “approve” pile, it is complicated. Where should I send that info, so admin can figure out what to post of interest?

  25. #13. I must apologize to you and Tony. I generally do not read Fullerton’s Future blog.

    That being said, Curt is in a deep hole. There is no way to justify the CAHSR. California voters approved an 800 mile hi-speed rail. Note: OC, SD and Riverside County voters all voted NO tot he $9.95 billion Bond.
    Having a former corporate office in the Bay Area I can tell you that it is NOT 800 miles from Anaheim to SF. This project was to extend from SAC to SD. Some of the proponent leaders have tried to circumvent the Bill or the ballot Measure which does NOT provide for any public subsidy like Amtrack Acera on the east coast. To cover the lower ridership numbers they are getting cute and now want to offer a “ridership guarantee” to any potential private investors. No one in his right mind would invest billions into a project if they cannot get a reasonable ROI.
    They are in a box. Initially they pegged the ticket price to be below air travel to steal riders. They have since raised that projected ticket cost which has resulted in a declining ridership projection.
    They speak of a trip from Anaheim to SF taking around three hours. That might be true if they didn’t have up to 14 stops along the route. I guess the only passengers will be the engineer, the conductor, and Curt Pringle.

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