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Report: Halt state funding for high-speed rail

Original post made on Jan 4, 2012

California's quest to build a high-speed rail system between San Francisco and Los Angeles suffered a heavy blow Tuesday when a peer-review committee recommended that state legislators not fund the project until major changes are made to the business plan for the increasingly controversial line.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, January 4, 2012, 7:32 AM

Comments (17)

Posted by Carol, a resident of Livermore
on Jan 4, 2012 at 11:08 am

While the concept is enticing, it just isn't feasible. Even before the plan was introduced to the public, it was in the works. Ironically, the path that the proposed rail would take goes directly through where irrigation water was cut off to farmers in the Central Valley. This made their land essentially worthless, and therefore, more easily obtainable through eminent domain at a greatly reduced cost. Considering the state of the State AND the Nation, spending this kind of money is irresponsible and inconceivable.

Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:43 am

It just makes no sense to build that rail, not only because of the political climate, but because heavy rail is not an efficient way of moving people; they are already projecting ticket prices of $200+, so when completed it'll be higher (or subsidized even more heavily than presented). What sense does it make to take an expensive train ride when they can fly SouthWest to SoCal faster, to more locations, safer, and at much less expense?

As for job creation, steel will come from China, construction jobs will be temporary, and trains will likely be manufactured by Siemens in Germany or some other overseas location or company, and there will only be a handful of train personnel jobs...

Posted by Lemm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:06 am

This is a project that might have been feasible if it had been mananaged responsibly, but it fell victim to government mismanagment (CA govt can't manage anything), unions elbowing their way in and vastly increasing costs, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties continuing their four-decades-long refusal to have viable mass transporation in their region, and inept execution. Sadly, a great opportunity was missed and the project has become an albitross. Meanwhile, Govenor Moonbeam is still pushing for spending billions on the project and the same time he wants to raise our taxes -- the guy is either clueless or deranged.

Posted by Bruce, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:53 am

Did the same Cal Trans estimators estimate the cost of the high speed rail that estimated the cost of the new Bay Bridge? If so, we could probably purchase an airplane for every resident in the state with just the cost over runs. I think its time to state teaching economics in kindergarden and every year after until we develop some voters who can think.

Posted by Shane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:54 am

The project is needed. It will create job growth and it will reduce pollution. It remains a great idea, albeit long overdue. Yes, it will cost. Nothing is free, though the conservative dolts on these sites seem to think they shouldn't have to pony up for policies and projects that are for the good of all of us.

Posted by Bill, a resident of Castlewood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 9:59 am

For Shane to use the term "dolt" amazing. He pouts when other people run out of money for him to spend.

Posted by Shane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:01 am

For dolts like Bill, there's never enough money ... except for him.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:17 am

Bill, Shane is the person who consistently changes his/her name but never his/her spots. Shane never answered on previous postings about Palo Alto's (somewhat closer to Shane's political views) organized fight against this proposed project. And, yes, Shane is always willing to spend other people's money and favors this kind of busy work under the guise of resolving unemployment (separate discussion about who would take those jobs).

Posted by Shane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:33 am

Bill, I'm new to this blog but Kathleen Ruegsegger seems to be a small-minded busybody and gossip who claims to know me and my views. I bet she'd rather see taxpayer money go to 20+ thousand border guards than to progressive projects that would help save our planet. I guess dolts like you and her tend to flock together on these blogs,, no?

Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:37 am

There would be virtually no jobs for Californians in a train project, just subsidies and bonuses for Sacramento bureaucrats, foreign contractors, and Chinese suppliers. Touting this as a jobs program is a farce. There'd only be a handful of jobs for billions spent; better to just give a few million to the handful and save billions.

Posted by Gina Channell-Allen, president of the Pleasanton Weekly
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:47 am

Gina Channell-Allen is a registered user.

Thank you DB for trying to get this topic back on track. (Sorry, I couldn't waste the opportunity for that bad pun.)

Please stop the back-and-forth bickering that does nothing to further the conversation.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 5, 2012 at 10:52 am

Shane, If you aren't Nate/Slippers/etc., you write exactly the same; never miss a chance to sling an insult or make broad comments that appear to be fact. No, I wouldn't invest in the border guards. How is it the train is more efficient than the plane and would save the planet exactly? Got a link to any EIR for the entire length of the project?

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jan 5, 2012 at 11:00 am

Two volumes: Web Link
Web Link

And here's a link to California High Speed Rail with all the topics that come up when searching EIR: Web Link

Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 5, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Wouldn't it be a lot more fun to take one tenth of the money for this high speed rail project, and instead use the funds to build an autobhahn from Sacramento to the LA county line?

I bet people would be lining up to pay to use it, just to not have to put up with truck convoys.

Posted by DB, a resident of Pleasanton Heights
on Jan 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm

From the states website, and the "HIGH-SPEED RAIL 2012 DRAFT BUSINESS PLAN FACT SHEET*", the total project cost is $98.5 Billion**.

The FACT SHEET also says there will be 4,500 permanent operations and maintenance jobs, and 20,000 construction jobs per year during construction. That is a cost of $21.9 million per permanent job, or $4 million per permanent and temporary job. That's a very high cost for "job creation."

The FACT SHEET also says "CO2 emissions reduced by 3 million tons" which sounds like a big number, until you realize that Californians exhale 30 million tons of CO2 per year, and the Earth's atmosphere contains 3 million megatons of CO2 (3x10^12 tons). CO2 in atmosphere is ~381 ppm, and 3 million tons is 0.000375 ppm; an insignificant amount.

So the "green" benefits of the rail don't pan out, and the cost of job creation is way to high, and it certainly is not worth raising taxes and bonds and going into further debt.

*Web Link

**almost a trillion dollars, and when has the State ever been under budget on anything?

Posted by Bill, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jan 6, 2012 at 2:04 pm

DB - good post but 98 billion dollars is almost 100 billion dollars, not a trillion. Although still a huge number when the state cannot even afford to give care to the elderly and disadvantaged citizens.

The state of California cannot even get the numbers right for a budget one year in advance, what makes them believe they can see twenty to thirty years down the road?

Posted by Patriot, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2012 at 10:43 pm

"How is it the train is more efficient"

An argument could be made that since air travel on these routes are so heavily subsidized by the government and that the airlines have a government provided monopoly, it is reasonable for the government to subsidize competition for the airlines to improve service and efficiency and provide an alternative for customers.

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