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High Speed Rail Passes by a Single Vote

Original post made by Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills Elementary School, on Jul 6, 2012

Got a notice from Palo Alto sister paper on this. Web Link

Comments (31)

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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

We need new taxes for education, but there's money to build a train to Disneyland. Guess we'll be able to use the three weeks Brown wants to cut out of the school year for the trip.


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Commenting on your own post, Kathleen? Tre gauche!

Anyway: are you claiming that the rail project will be paid for out of the general fund? Or does it not serve your purpose to mention the federal grants and bonds that are not transferable to education? Cuz I KNOW you'd never intentionally deceive readers about education...


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Posted by the point
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm

I think the point is that the Nov taxes are DOA with high speed rail going ahead.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

NonSense; Yes, there are funds, just nowhere near enough. How will the hole get filled? I let the article stand as written. Pretty sure I can comment after rather than within.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

Don't wait! Get into debt now! Interest rates are at historic lows! Supplies are going fast...


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Posted by OurFamily'sHighSpeedRail
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Well, well, well...

This decision seals our family's fate too.

As soon as we can get our act together, we're taking a high speed rail out of this State ... so the fools who voted for this will have to pay for it with their own money...not ours. (And yes, our family pays a high level of State taxes too.)

When will Democrats learn the fable about the "Killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg?"


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Posted by Daniel Bradford
a resident of Foothill High School
on Jul 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Europeans and the Japanese have an extensive high-speed rail system, and have had for decades. The Chinese are developing high-speed rail, as well, and are already ahead of the USA. It's time that the United States began developing its infrastructure again. There were many people who opposed the building of the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 1960s by the way!

I'm glad to see that California is, once again, not afraid to be a leader among the states in technology. It's only fitting that the birthplace of the Silicon Valley revolution should have the nation's first truly high-speed rail system.


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Posted by Nurse union troll shark
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm

Nurse, you and Daniel wouldn't happen to be on a union payroll would you? Why else would you support this farce?
Truth is, there's only so much money to go around.....this is bad use of what's left in this state. If you weren't so damn selfish, you'd take a big step back and look at this joke of a project for what it is.......and you dem lemmings complained about the road to nowhere in Alaska!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Daniel, But the reality is, those who ride are not covering the costs. Web Link And there is maybe one toll road that has stopped charging tolls because it is paid for.


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Posted by OurFamily'sHSR
a resident of Amador Estates
on Jul 6, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Daniel,
Sounds like you also could use a refresher about the fable of the "Goose and the Golden Egg"

Or, if you'd rather not read that fable, how about learning the fate of China's High Speed Rail that you say makes them "ahead of the USA"...

Here is a link for you to inform yourself about China's shiny HSR...

China's HSR > Web Link

However, if you'd prefer not reading the above, I will provide a couple excerpts (below) from this article.

The vaunted high-speed rail project pushed by Beijing has collapsed into a morass of embezzlement and failure (via Jonah Goldberg):

For the past eight years, Liu Zhijun was one of the most influential people in China. As minister of railways, Liu ran China's $300 billion high-speed rail project. U.S., European and Japanese contractors jostled for a piece of the business while foreign journalists gushed over China's latest high-tech marvel.

Today, Liu Zhijun is ruined, and his high-speed rail project is in trouble. On Feb. 25, he was fired for "severe violations of discipline" — code for embezzling tens of millions of dollars. Seems his ministry has run up $271 billion in debt — roughly five times the level that bankrupted General Motors. But ticket sales can't cover debt service that will total $27.7 billion in 2011 alone. Safety concerns also are cropping up.

But hey, the trains still run on time, don't they? Not exactly:

Faced with a financial and public relations disaster, China put the brakes on Liu's program. On April 13, the government cut bullet-train speeds 30 mph to improve safety, energy efficiency and affordability. The Railway Ministry's tangled finances are being audited. Construction plans, too, are being reviewed.

Liu's legacy, in short, is a system that could drain China's economic resources for years. So much for the grand project that Thomas Friedman of the New York Times likened to a "moon shot" and that President Obama held up as a model for the United States.

Even with substandard materials and shoddy construction, the system faces annual shortfalls of billions of dollars. Now the system runs a lot slower, although the price isn't likely to decline, and bus service will look better and better to the working class the high-speed rail was supposed to serve. The pricing is why the train services mainly the wealthy and foreigners even with the massive subsidies for its operation.

Lane explains in his lengthy, must-read article that failure is the norm and not the exception for high-speed rail systems. In Japan and Taiwan, high-speed rail systems needed government bailouts to keep operating. Our own experience with Amtrak should make that fairly clear; despite having to make minimal capital investments (as opposed to capital-intensive startups for railroads), Amtrak routinely runs deep in the red, and even that is deeply subsidized, as Ronald Utt reminded us last month at Heritage:

Ridership has also faltered. As Amtrak data reveal, FY 2008 was the high-water mark for ridership in recent years. Ridership fell in FY 2009 and returned only to 2008 levels in 2010, when it reached 28.7 million nationwide,[7] about 10 million fewer passengers than went through the Phoenix airport in 2009.[8] To achieve this incidental market share, Amtrak required a federal taxpayer subsidy of $4.4 billion over the three fiscal years in question. As a result, Amtrak receives the highest per-passenger federal subsidy of any mode: $237.53 per 1,000 passenger-miles compared to $4.23 per 1,000 passenger-miles for commercial aviation.[9]

None of us should be surprised at the failure of China's high-speed rail, but we'd better all learn a lesson from it. Nineteenth-century transportation systems are not the answer for our transportation infrastructure, especially when air service is faster, cheaper, much more flexible, and self-supporting. We need to stop the federal government from attempting these social engineering projects and focus on spending reductions. If politicians like playing with trains, let them buy a Lionel set like all the other little boys and girls.


----
Hey, Daniel...am anxious to hear your views now about these abject failures. Empty your pockets dude and pay up for this massive black hole that no one will ride.


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Posted by Bill
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 6, 2012 at 10:06 pm

I thought that I would never live to see the day when the Sacramento political machine would rival that of New York and Chicago.

Common sense has given way to raw power and greed.


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Posted by local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Our elected officials who voted for the high speed train have essentially said that the train is more important than educating our youth. We only have so many dollars coming in and we are cutting education expense at the same time we are "purchasing" this high speed train system, that IMHO, will never materialize to anything and will continue to pull money out of the state's general fund, away from education. They politicians also have said that the high speed train is more important than our state's water system since they approved the selling of the bonds on the train but postponed a vote by the people for a water bond.

So many new reasons to not vote for the additional tax in November. It is acts like this that proves the politicians have a spending problem.


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 7, 2012 at 8:31 am

It's sad to see how simple people's understanding of funding is, as if all funding sources are the same. Makes it easier to be fooled by Stacey/Kathleen if she perpetuates the image that all spending comes out of some Scrooge McDuck money bin instead of acknowledging the reality that most of the money going to HSR is non-fungible. I guess she counts on people not bothering to read deeply on the subject or even look into the facts critically. Keep it dumbed-down enough, and you can get people to swallow just about any absurdity, right Kathleen/Stacey? You sure can fool some of the people all of the time!


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2012 at 8:59 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

NonSense, Web Link

"The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds that includes $2.6 billion to build an initial 130-mile stretch of the high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. That will allow the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday."

How are the bonds repaid? Where is the federal funding coming from?

"One dissenter, Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, said public support had waned for the project, and there were too many questions about financing to complete it.

"'Is there additional commitment of federal funds? There is not. Is there additional commitment of private funding? There is not. Is there a dedicated funding source that we can look to in the coming years? There is not,' Simitian said."

And: "California was able to secure more federal aid than expected after Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin turned down money."

Wonder why other states turned it down.

Web Link Web Link Plenty of deep reading here.

And then there is that whole thing you are ignoring that ridership on any current HSR system does not cover the cost.

Yeah, Scrooge McDuck, and everyone else.


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jul 7, 2012 at 9:28 am

The HSR is just an extension of BART. Face it. They want you to believe that the rail will help faxsimilate trade with lots of truck containers being pulled along the tracks. They want you to swallow the idea that it isn't only people passangers who will pay, but commerce as well. What bolony sauwsage. Oh yeah, and protect the envrionment by taking trucks off the road. Right! As if their is global warming outside of Al Gores' head.

People should just fly instead. And put the container trucks on planes too. Wake up sheeple!!!


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:02 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Nurse Shark,

As you know, this forum is for amusement and not serious discussion. It's amusing to make a joke about historic low interest rates then watch you make up my position on HSR for me.


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Posted by local
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:06 am

NS is the one that does not get it. The bonds need to be repaid. The repayment comes out of the general fund, the same place where we fund education. So a dollar spend in paying back HSR is a dollar not available for education. The HSR will also be running at a deficit. Public transportation is always subsidized. That is a double-whammy for education. The general fund will be used to pay back the bonds plus the general fund will be used to subsidize the HSR (probably in perpetuity), all money taken from education. Lets not forget the politicians will be coming back to the taxpayers for another HSR bond to "finish" the project saying that if you do not approve more money, what you have already spent will be worthless (common political trick).

This bond will only be financing the "train to nowhere."


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:13 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Unfortunately some posters here are starry-eyed with Ecotopia visions of sugar-plum infrastructure projects and nary a thought given to the realities of *this* HSR project.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:15 am

Stacey is a registered user.

It's funny how the Legislature pulled the important water *infrastructure* vote yet moved forward with the HSR project. It probably has something to do with the sexy political appeal HSR has to a certain demographic that the much more important water infrastructure does not generate.


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Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:18 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Somewhere out in the Nevada desert, a Google car is driving itself...


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:20 am

Here we go--another 15 rapid-fire Stacey posts in a row...


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

Okay, Kathleen/Stacey: um, no, there's no Google car in the desert. There.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:16 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Well, the Google car is street legal in Nevada, and Nevada has deserts, so, actually, yes the Google car is in the desert. Web Link


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 7, 2012 at 11:25 am

Oh my God, Staceleen, you've proven me wrong! I'm so wretched and low! I have seen the light: Truly you are omniscient!

Geez, will you please grow up?


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 7, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Okay, here's the information available on Stacey:


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Hmmm, identical to the information available for you. So I'm not Stacey, nor am I you, nor is the reverse true. So, Kathleen is not Stacey is not Nurse Shark, and Nurse Shark is not Stacey is not Kathleen, so Stacey is not Kathleen is not Nurse Shark,. All done!


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Posted by Nurse Shark
a resident of Bridle Creek
on Jul 7, 2012 at 1:38 pm

As the sainted Gipper once said, "There you go again!" Based on all the information we have on Stacey, it's juuuuust possible that her bio has enough room for you.

Come on, let's just quit pretending: if it wasn't already obvious from your twin attitudes, posting schedules, agendas, and the way you "two" immediately pop up to defend "the other," it's certainly obvious from the way you bluster through your exaggerated denial.

Seriously, I think most readers have known for a long while about your sock-puppetry, so what's there to gain by maintaining the last shreds of this farce?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Based on all the information we have on Nurse Shark, it's juuuust possible that his/her bio has enough room for Kathleen or Stacey or both. It's ridiculous, of course. I can only guess the notion that there are (at least) two people who would question your posts must be overwhelming for you, and so you persist in denying the truth. If you really paid attention, you'd know Stacey and I are not in total agreement on every topic.

Again, the fact we are two people is verifiable information. Do the work, Nurse Shark.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jul 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Sure, you keep it up NonSense. Back to the issue:

"Risk still high
"But the vote does not guarantee high-speed rail service -- far from it.
Instead, the state still needs $56 billion to extend the tracks to Southern California and the Bay Area over the next 15 years, and is hoping the federal government and private sector fund the bulk of it. Nearly $20 billion more is needed before the first leg of service can begin between roughly Merced and greater Los Angeles.

"Without the money, the first stretch of track through Fresno would sit desolate. Most lawmakers who voted against the plan say it was simply too big of a gamble to launch the project now, even though delay would cost the state $3.3 billion in federal grants. The rest of the funding for the first segment will come from $10 billion in voter-approved bond funds." Web Link


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm



"The Legislature took bold action today that gets Californians back to work and puts
California out in front once again," Brown said in a statement.

"Some of the most informed members of his party, however, were not convinced.
In a dramatic monologue four years in the making, the key oversight senator on high-speed rail, Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, silenced the floor by finally announcing he was against the plan.

In fact, not one Democrat from the Senate's unofficial bullet train oversight group -- including Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord, and Alan Lowenthal, D-Long
Beach -- supported the project."

I'm sure it was interesting 48 hours in Sacramento leading up to the HSR vote which, according to recent polls would have overwhelmingly been defeated if placed back on the ballot. With Democratic leaders like Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, promising support & pork to hold outs in his own party, while the union lobbyists threatened a quick end to the political careers of others who failed to comply what will most likely go down as one of the worst boondoggles since the passage of SB400 and AB616 (enhanced and retroactive pension benefits), it should be increasingly clear who's running this state into the ground. The entire scene in Sacramento probably resembled a bunch of Flies hovering around a pile of dog-doo. Only in this case the pressure and back room deals were conducted behind closed doors as opposed to outside in the sunshine.

I expect this project to exceed twice the advertised cost during construction, and then require a 40% government subsidy to operate. But hey, more jobs for union members and more money skimmed off the top by the unions so they can continue to run their racket. And Jerry Brown gets the legacy/monument he's always wanted.

So much for the will of the people!

(my first comments in two months - the other Arnold comments are from the fool with too much time on his hands).


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Posted by Steve
a resident of Parkside
on Jul 7, 2012 at 10:10 pm

Well, the issue is BART and HST to Disnyland. But my friends Stacey and Kathleen just cant' let a little criticism go without spendng a entire day defending there identities. Grow up girls! You used to be with us. Now all you do is insist your' real. Do you need our affirmativation for that? Really? Are you that unsure of your own selfs?


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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