News

Ruling sparks fresh hope for high-speed-rail critics

Kings County lawsuit raises new hurdle for rail authority

In their quest to build the nation's first high-speed rail system, California officials have been banking on a wide range of potentially dubious funding sources, from federal programs that don't exist to private investments that have yet to materialize.

Now, a fresh verdict from a Sacramento County judge threatens the one source of money that rail officials felt was a sure thing -- the $9 billion in state funds that state voters approved for the $68 billion project in November 2008, when the price tag of the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles system was pegged at $45 billion.

In his ruling, Judge Michael Kenny found that the rail authority "abused its discretion" and violated the law when it failed to identify funding for the rail line's first usable segment, a roughly 300-mile stretch that would extend from Merced to San Fernando Valley and cost about $21 billion.

Instead, the rail authority only identified the funding needed for the "initial construction segment," 130 miles between Bakersfield and Fresno, which does not include electrification and which will cost about $6 billion.

The consequences of the ruling won't be clear until Nov. 8, when the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the plaintiffs from Kings County are scheduled to return to Kenny's courtroom to hear his ruling on the remedies the rail authority would have to pursue.

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Lisa Marie Alley, the rail authority's deputy director of communications, said that until the litigation concludes, it's impossible to predict the impact of Kenny's decision. In the meantime, however, the rail authority is hiring workers in the Central Valley in preparation for construction.

The agency is refining its design for the initial section and proceeding with relocating utilities, purchasing right-of-way and paving the way for the actual "heavy construction" of bridges, overpasses and trenches.

"Our stance has always been that we will continue to move the project forward," Alley told the Weekly.

At least one vocal proponent of the increasingly unpopular project -- Gov. Jerry Brown -- thinks the ruling will ultimately do little to halt construction of the train system. Last week, Brown told reporters at a summit in Lake Tahoe that while Kenny's ruling raises some questions, "it did not stop anything," according to the Associated Press. The decision, he said, leaves "a lot of room for interpretation, and I think the outcome will be positive."

Michael Brady and Stuart Flashman, the attorneys representing plaintiffs John Tos, Aaron Fukuda and the County of Kings, voiced similar sentiments, though to them the term "positive" has the opposite meaning. Brady, a longtime and outspoken opponent of the rail system, said he would like the court to either require the rail authority to correct its myriad errors or to put the brakes on the controversial project.

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"We hope the court will say: 'We already found you're in violation of Proposition 1A. What are you going to do about it?'" Brady told the Weekly. "'Are you going to comply? Should the project go ahead if you can't comply?'"

Rail authority officials had argued in a court brief that it was perfectly legal for the agency to proceed with the shorter segment before laying out all the plans for the larger one. The bond act "clearly authorizes construction of the high-speed train system in portions, like the ICS (Initial Construction Segment), that are smaller than an entire corridor or usable segment," Deputy Attorney General S. Michele Inan wrote in a brief.

It is significant, the rail authority argued, "that the Legislature omitted the term 'corridor' or 'usable segment' from the authorization to use bond proceeds: It is not limited to corridors or usable segment.

"Since the train system envisioned by the bond act will be built over a long period of time, such phased construction allows the Authority to manage the development process, costs, and funding over time," Inan wrote.

She also argued that because the Legislature had already appropriated the funds despite complaints that the funding plan did not meet the requirements of Prop. 1A, "an order setting aside the funding plan will have no legal effect and would be an empty act."

The Kenny ruling is the latest setback for high-speed rail, a project that has generated a tide of opposition along the Peninsula since the 2008 vote. Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton had previously sued the rail authority, forcing the agency to decertify and revise its environmental analysis, and the Palo Alto City Council had unanimously passed a resolution officially opposing the project.

Despite a list of critical audits and concerns from lawmakers about the rail authority's ridership projections and revenue forecasts, the legislature voted in July 2012 to approve $2.6 billion in bond funds and $3.4 billion in federal funds for the first construction segment. The appropriation came by a single vote, with several Democrats joining every Republican in opposition.

Now, opponents of the project hope that Kenny's ruling will tarnish this victory by invalidating the appropriation, which they argue is shown to be based on an incomplete financial analysis.

"We think that it's appropriate for the judge — and we understand his reticence — to consider rescinding the legislative approval of appropriation," Flashman, who has represented Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park in prior lawsuits against the rail authority, told the Weekly.

He acknowledged that such a move would be unlikely, given the separation of power between the legislative and judicial branches. But even if Kenny doesn't rescind the appropriation vote, he could effectively invalidate it, Flashman said.

"We do think it would be perfectly within his right to declare that — because the funding plan was invalid and because the Legislature relied on that funding plan in making the appropriation — to say the appropriation was not properly supported and therefore declare it invalid."

In discussing potential remedies, Kenny was vague in his ruling. He noted that he could direct the rail authority to rescind its funding plan, though he acknowledged that he is not convinced this would have "any real, practical effect" given that the money has already been appropriated. He also said the court cannot determine whether it should "invalidate subsequent approvals" of bond proceeds and directed both parties to issue supplemental briefs addressing this issue.

In his ruling, Kenny also pointed to another provision of Proposition 1A that could complicate the rail authority's ability to spend the bond money. The provision prohibits the agency from committing the bond funds until it submits a second funding plan, which would have to be accompanied by a report from independent parties and which would have to be approved by the state's director of finance and the chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Though this supplemental plan has yet to be prepared, once released, it will present opponents of the rail money with another target for legal challenges. Flashman noted that the supplemental plan is required to get into greater detail than the initial one about sources of funding for the first usable segment of the rail line.

"Only after language has been prepared, submitted and approved can the authority spend any bond fund money," Flashman said. "It's a padlock on the strongbox containing that bond money."

Flashman and Brady are also looking forward to Kenny's response to the second part of their legal challenge — one that focuses on a Proposition 1A provision that requires high-speed trains to be able to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Kenny will consider this challenge at a later date.

Though the ramification's of Kenny's decision won't become apparent until at least November, the recent opinion has given fresh hope to the Peninsula's legion of rail critics, many of whom have toned it down over the past two years as the rail authority's focus shifted to the Central Valley.

John Garamendi Jr., Palo Alto's high-speed-rail lobbyist in Sacramento, called Kenny's ruling "an enormous deal" and a huge victory against high-speed rail. The judge's determination that the rail authority must identify funding sources and get environmental clearance for the entire "initial operating segment" rather than the first constructed section "may be a hurdle too high for them to cross," Garamendi told the Palo Alto City Council's Rail Committee on Aug. 22.

"However, it would appear the governor and high-speed rail staff are not concerned in the least about it," Garamendi said. "I still believe we're a country of the rule of law. We'll see what the judge thinks about that."

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Ruling sparks fresh hope for high-speed-rail critics

Kings County lawsuit raises new hurdle for rail authority

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Sep 6, 2013, 7:55 am
Updated: Sun, Sep 8, 2013, 8:34 pm

In their quest to build the nation's first high-speed rail system, California officials have been banking on a wide range of potentially dubious funding sources, from federal programs that don't exist to private investments that have yet to materialize.

Now, a fresh verdict from a Sacramento County judge threatens the one source of money that rail officials felt was a sure thing -- the $9 billion in state funds that state voters approved for the $68 billion project in November 2008, when the price tag of the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles system was pegged at $45 billion.

In his ruling, Judge Michael Kenny found that the rail authority "abused its discretion" and violated the law when it failed to identify funding for the rail line's first usable segment, a roughly 300-mile stretch that would extend from Merced to San Fernando Valley and cost about $21 billion.

Instead, the rail authority only identified the funding needed for the "initial construction segment," 130 miles between Bakersfield and Fresno, which does not include electrification and which will cost about $6 billion.

The consequences of the ruling won't be clear until Nov. 8, when the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the plaintiffs from Kings County are scheduled to return to Kenny's courtroom to hear his ruling on the remedies the rail authority would have to pursue.

Lisa Marie Alley, the rail authority's deputy director of communications, said that until the litigation concludes, it's impossible to predict the impact of Kenny's decision. In the meantime, however, the rail authority is hiring workers in the Central Valley in preparation for construction.

The agency is refining its design for the initial section and proceeding with relocating utilities, purchasing right-of-way and paving the way for the actual "heavy construction" of bridges, overpasses and trenches.

"Our stance has always been that we will continue to move the project forward," Alley told the Weekly.

At least one vocal proponent of the increasingly unpopular project -- Gov. Jerry Brown -- thinks the ruling will ultimately do little to halt construction of the train system. Last week, Brown told reporters at a summit in Lake Tahoe that while Kenny's ruling raises some questions, "it did not stop anything," according to the Associated Press. The decision, he said, leaves "a lot of room for interpretation, and I think the outcome will be positive."

Michael Brady and Stuart Flashman, the attorneys representing plaintiffs John Tos, Aaron Fukuda and the County of Kings, voiced similar sentiments, though to them the term "positive" has the opposite meaning. Brady, a longtime and outspoken opponent of the rail system, said he would like the court to either require the rail authority to correct its myriad errors or to put the brakes on the controversial project.

"We hope the court will say: 'We already found you're in violation of Proposition 1A. What are you going to do about it?'" Brady told the Weekly. "'Are you going to comply? Should the project go ahead if you can't comply?'"

Rail authority officials had argued in a court brief that it was perfectly legal for the agency to proceed with the shorter segment before laying out all the plans for the larger one. The bond act "clearly authorizes construction of the high-speed train system in portions, like the ICS (Initial Construction Segment), that are smaller than an entire corridor or usable segment," Deputy Attorney General S. Michele Inan wrote in a brief.

It is significant, the rail authority argued, "that the Legislature omitted the term 'corridor' or 'usable segment' from the authorization to use bond proceeds: It is not limited to corridors or usable segment.

"Since the train system envisioned by the bond act will be built over a long period of time, such phased construction allows the Authority to manage the development process, costs, and funding over time," Inan wrote.

She also argued that because the Legislature had already appropriated the funds despite complaints that the funding plan did not meet the requirements of Prop. 1A, "an order setting aside the funding plan will have no legal effect and would be an empty act."

The Kenny ruling is the latest setback for high-speed rail, a project that has generated a tide of opposition along the Peninsula since the 2008 vote. Palo Alto, Menlo Park and Atherton had previously sued the rail authority, forcing the agency to decertify and revise its environmental analysis, and the Palo Alto City Council had unanimously passed a resolution officially opposing the project.

Despite a list of critical audits and concerns from lawmakers about the rail authority's ridership projections and revenue forecasts, the legislature voted in July 2012 to approve $2.6 billion in bond funds and $3.4 billion in federal funds for the first construction segment. The appropriation came by a single vote, with several Democrats joining every Republican in opposition.

Now, opponents of the project hope that Kenny's ruling will tarnish this victory by invalidating the appropriation, which they argue is shown to be based on an incomplete financial analysis.

"We think that it's appropriate for the judge — and we understand his reticence — to consider rescinding the legislative approval of appropriation," Flashman, who has represented Palo Alto, Atherton and Menlo Park in prior lawsuits against the rail authority, told the Weekly.

He acknowledged that such a move would be unlikely, given the separation of power between the legislative and judicial branches. But even if Kenny doesn't rescind the appropriation vote, he could effectively invalidate it, Flashman said.

"We do think it would be perfectly within his right to declare that — because the funding plan was invalid and because the Legislature relied on that funding plan in making the appropriation — to say the appropriation was not properly supported and therefore declare it invalid."

In discussing potential remedies, Kenny was vague in his ruling. He noted that he could direct the rail authority to rescind its funding plan, though he acknowledged that he is not convinced this would have "any real, practical effect" given that the money has already been appropriated. He also said the court cannot determine whether it should "invalidate subsequent approvals" of bond proceeds and directed both parties to issue supplemental briefs addressing this issue.

In his ruling, Kenny also pointed to another provision of Proposition 1A that could complicate the rail authority's ability to spend the bond money. The provision prohibits the agency from committing the bond funds until it submits a second funding plan, which would have to be accompanied by a report from independent parties and which would have to be approved by the state's director of finance and the chairperson of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee.

Though this supplemental plan has yet to be prepared, once released, it will present opponents of the rail money with another target for legal challenges. Flashman noted that the supplemental plan is required to get into greater detail than the initial one about sources of funding for the first usable segment of the rail line.

"Only after language has been prepared, submitted and approved can the authority spend any bond fund money," Flashman said. "It's a padlock on the strongbox containing that bond money."

Flashman and Brady are also looking forward to Kenny's response to the second part of their legal challenge — one that focuses on a Proposition 1A provision that requires high-speed trains to be able to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 2 hours and 40 minutes. Kenny will consider this challenge at a later date.

Though the ramification's of Kenny's decision won't become apparent until at least November, the recent opinion has given fresh hope to the Peninsula's legion of rail critics, many of whom have toned it down over the past two years as the rail authority's focus shifted to the Central Valley.

John Garamendi Jr., Palo Alto's high-speed-rail lobbyist in Sacramento, called Kenny's ruling "an enormous deal" and a huge victory against high-speed rail. The judge's determination that the rail authority must identify funding sources and get environmental clearance for the entire "initial operating segment" rather than the first constructed section "may be a hurdle too high for them to cross," Garamendi told the Palo Alto City Council's Rail Committee on Aug. 22.

"However, it would appear the governor and high-speed rail staff are not concerned in the least about it," Garamendi said. "I still believe we're a country of the rule of law. We'll see what the judge thinks about that."

Comments

Guz Ler
another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 9:35 am
Guz Ler, another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 9:35 am
Like this comment

I have noticed the roads and highways around here are "free". A henious socialist plot if I ever saw one. Bring on the trains where riders will have to pay a fair fare.


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm
Like this comment

How come Europeans have adjusted to riding the rails but Americans can't?


KR
another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm
KR, another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:25 pm
Like this comment

Time to put this boondoggle to rest.


nocholo
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm
nocholo, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:55 pm
Like this comment

cholo, you can't really want America to become Europe...if you do, you should just go there...now.
For the rest of us, who work and live in the suburbs, you know as well as we do that once the tracks stop or you get off at your station, then the real challenge starts. If my job is 10 miles from the nearest station, how do you propose getting from point A to point B? Hitchhike, walk, fly....
For those of us in the real world with jobs and errands to run (like getting lumber and supplies at Home Depot, for example) how is a train the utopian version of transportation you espouse?


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 6, 2013 at 3:09 pm
Like this comment

How com my question is waaaaaaaaaay too deep for some folks? duh...


th3gtr
another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm
th3gtr, another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm
Like this comment

Why is this project important? Well, the California Department of Finance projects the population to increase to 44 million and 50 million by 2030 and 2050, respectively. These are increases of 6-7 million people per 20 year period. That means that we're going to have to build more places to live for them and provide more transportation capacity to allow them to commerce. The last 60 years of land use patterns (sprawling single-family housing developments) are too unsustainable. They gobble up farmland, green space, forests, park areas, and require people to commute upwards of 50 miles to work. It's a waste of energy, time, and money, and a major contributor to air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. What cities need to do for the next 50 years is concentrate their urban growth towards their downtown centers, and increase their overall population densities. We need to walk and take public transit to work and the supermarket rather than use the car all the time. Residential, work, shopping, and entertainment areas need to all be accessible by walking or mass transit. That's why high-speed rail stations and other mass transit stations should be in the city centers. We need low-density, automobile dependent suburbs to stop spreading into valuable farmland. The high-speed rail system will cut into farmland, but it will induce cities to start growing up rather than out into farmland. Also, high-speed rail has a very high passenger capacity, meaning that it will be able to handle the growth in intercity trips generated between California's regions for decades to come, unlike highway and airport upgrades, which may relieve congestion for about a decade at best. We need to start somewhere in order for our society and economy to develop sustainably from now on, and high-speed rail is a great first step.


traveler
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:34 am
traveler, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:34 am
Like this comment

Nicely stated, th3gtr. Correct me if I'm wrong, but with the rail system eventually connecting S.F. and L.A. would there not then be parallel tracks for trains to move truck containers? If so, this too would alleviate much truck traffic/pollution in central Cal.

Most people, I think, would prefer to live in Europe. I would.


Steve
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 10:32 am
Steve, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 10:32 am
Like this comment

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)


th3gtr
another community
on Sep 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm
th3gtr, another community
on Sep 7, 2013 at 12:31 pm
Like this comment

@traveler To tell you the truth, there are already two major freight railroad lines going up and down the Central Valley. The first is the BNSF line, and the other is the UPRR line, which is adjacent to SR 99. The high-speed rail line for the most part will run adjacent to the BNSF route. Freight has totally different transportation requirements compared to passengers, so they really shouldn't share the same track or roads. For example, passenger traffic tends to peak during the morning and afternoon commute hours, while freight doesn't peak, but has a constant flow of traffic all day long. Passenger traffic is also very frequent and time-sensitive, while freight is not as time-sensitive, but tends to emphasize large loads to take advantage of economies of scale.

If you want to know more about this stuff, I can point you to some resources. Of course, you only get out of it what you put into it:
Web Link
Web Link
Web Link

[Political rant below. Don't read if you're not interested.]

I don't mind living in the Unites States, but I'll admit that our political and newswires are completely bought up by corporations and the wealthy plutocracy. That's why we can barely get projects like high-speed rail through, while tax cuts for the rich and $600 billion per year Department of Defense budgets go hardly unnoticed. Oh, by the way, they've increased the price of higher education, stagnated workers' wages for the past 30 years, are breaking the backs of unions, laying off workers by the thousands, using the CIA to overthrow democratically elected socialist/nationalist movements in favor of corporate-friendly US-backed dictators, and coming after your last pot of money: social security. With this unsustainable state capitalist system we have, it's not looking too good for humanity for the next 100 years. Here's a reference if you're interested:
Web Link


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 7, 2013 at 12:57 pm
Like this comment

Welcome the TRAINS! Welcome the TRAINS!

VIVA AMERICA! VIVA!


traveler
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm
traveler, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:36 pm
Like this comment

I look forward to watching the video you cited after your 'rant'.

I'm still a little unclear about the existing freight lines. You say they run parallel to SR 99, but as you know, SR 99 starts up north of the Tehachapis. What happens then?

I ask because in order to get from L.A. to S.F. via train, one must take a bus to Bakersfield before boarding a train that runs to Stockton.

I thought a high-speed rail system would plow a path through/under the Tehachapis that would make possible not only passenger trains but, on a set of parallel tracks, additional freight trains.

So, without having read your links -- just got in, won't have time for a while -- I'm asking again if you know what additional freight advantages a high-speed passenger line might bring about.

Started to watch the video, and was struck by Chomsky's mug on the screen. More specifically, I immediately spied Henry Braverman's book over Chomsky's shoulder on the book shelf: "Labor and Monopoly Capital," one of the best books written on the American economy since, well, ever!

Thanks again.

nocholo/Steve: instead of complaining about navigational strategies, you might consider simply going away. Or, short of that, ever hear of car-pooling it? Or how about zip-car rentals? All kinds of realistic possibilities, if you're sincere about pursuing them in light of our planet's rapid burn.




th3gtr
another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 8:18 am
th3gtr, another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 8:18 am
Like this comment

@traveler Here's a link to a map that shows the general route that the high-speed rail system will take. After hitting Bakersfield, it will cross the Tehachapi Mountains by tunnels and bridges. You'd have to look at the environmental impact documents to find the exact route that the engineers have come up with. They're also on the Authority's website.

There was actually a big fight over which route the high-speed rail system should take to enter the Los Angeles Basin: the Grapevine route vs the Tehachapi route. The Grapevine route would have cost less, cut trip time, and followed an existing transportation route. But, it also would have bypassed the rapidly growing Antelope Valley (Lancaster, Palmdale), which are major bedroom communities for the Los Angeles Basin.
Here's the argument for the Grapevine route. The same guy who made this has a runs a really good blog for Caltrain High Speed Rail Compatability on the San Franscisco Penninsula:
Web Link

Personally, I still favor the Tehachapi route because it follows a transportation planning concept called "Be on the Way!" A good transit line has connects two significant points of interest at both of its ends, while also serving lesser points of interest at intermediate stops. The entire line is seen as a relatively direct route between all stops. A bad transit line deviates from a direct route to serve points of interest, while at the same time wasting time for passengers who aren't getting off at the deviated point of interest. The Tehachapi also leaves open a potential connection with the XpressWest system, a separate proposed high-speed rail system by a private consortium. Although, that effort has stalled for now, the potential is still there.
Here's a link for both:
Web Link
Web Link

Thanks for reading!


th3gtr
another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 8:19 am
th3gtr, another community
on Sep 8, 2013 at 8:19 am
Like this comment

Sorry, here really is the map showing the potential route for the entire system:
Web Link


Surrender monkeys
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2013 at 10:02 am
Surrender monkeys, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2013 at 10:02 am
Like this comment

In case you europhiles missed it, if you like Europe so much, hop a train a go there. Oh wait...you can't. Just like you can't go grocery shopping for a family of four on bus or a train. You Berkeley dropouts should really try a dose of reality, instead of living in a drug induced utopian bubble. You're not going to change the entire area that has drawn people to it, but ruining the area with projects that only enrich union labor. Ciao


Dirty
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Dirty, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm
Like this comment

But trains are SO DIRTY, Isn't anybody concerned about the environment or the air we breathe?? Just askin' It seems we have a bunch of hypocrites in our midst. Massive electricity is massively DIRTY. Are these the same idiots, who came up with the extra steps, extra CARBON, and extra dollars, to truck around HEAVY corn to grind, to truck around some MORE to put in vehicles, and RAISE THE COST and create food SHORTAGES???? I think that's why they're lovingly called ecco-nuts....not an ounce of LOGIC in the bunch.


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 9, 2013 at 5:19 pm
Like this comment

A project like this would create lots of jobs for fellow Americans!


local
Birdland
on Sep 10, 2013 at 2:30 am
local, Birdland
on Sep 10, 2013 at 2:30 am
Like this comment

We do not need to add anymore government jobs.

If you need a government job and only have a high school diploma, just wait a couple of weeks and apply for a job as a train operator for BART when the BART workers go on strike.


Clyde
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2013 at 8:30 am
Clyde, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 10, 2013 at 8:30 am
Like this comment

Californians need to pray that THIS high speed rail project never gets done. The state government cannot do anything without Californians getting reamed. The new East Span of the Bay Bridge. It took them 4 times as long as it should have to build it, and it cost 4 times the original budget. You can expect the same with THIS high speed train, meaning that it will take 20-30 years to get it done and it will wind up costing about $200-250 Billion. That works out to about $30,000 for each California taxpayer. AND, that says nothing about how the taxpayers will get shafted subsidizing the operation after it is built.
Moonbeam Brown also wants to ream the taxpayers for to build his twin tunnels.
Anybody getting the picture here?


Mark Twain
Kottinger Ranch
on Sep 10, 2013 at 9:22 am
Mark Twain, Kottinger Ranch
on Sep 10, 2013 at 9:22 am
Like this comment

Has anyone tried to drive on I-5 on a long weekend. It just becomes a parking lot.Even on other days traffic slows down when one big rig tries to overtake another.What will happen in 10-15 years.It is not a matter of US or Europe.Any country needs efficient transportation for it to grow its economy.Look at a country like India which is having major problems as it does not have good infrastructure.Fifty years ago we built the best freeway system in the world and we prospered. Now as our population is increasing and becoming more dense we cannot rely on it. So we need to look at other options like high speed rail.


local
Birdland
on Sep 10, 2013 at 10:29 am
local, Birdland
on Sep 10, 2013 at 10:29 am
Like this comment

A high-speed rail will do little to help weekend traffic on I-5. Lets say you take the high-speed rail into LA. You cannot do anything there without a car. How will the train be any better than flying? The cost per trip of the train, when you include the taxpayer funding of the infrastructure and subsidizing the operations will be significantly more than flying. A high-speed rail could only make sense if each of the areas it serves has a good transportation system, which it does not.

The state has proven that any large project it takes on in transportation costs significantly more and takes significantly longer. They have a pretty consistent track record in proving that. They will then make the mistake of paying too much in salaries for unskilled jobs and leave no money for capital improvements. So even before the bonds would be paid off in the construction, the equipment will be obsolete. And if it costs $11 to get from Pleasanton to San Francisco, think how much it will cost to get from the Bay Area to Los Angeles. Then you will need to rent a car once you are there.


Anthony R.H.
Laguna Oaks
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:18 am
Anthony R.H., Laguna Oaks
on Sep 10, 2013 at 11:18 am
Like this comment

The more I read about the future costs, environmental impact studies, tax burden and just the simple cause for MASSIVE political graft and misappropriation of funds, the prospect of being sucked down a tube at 600+MPH. via Elon Musks "Hypertube" actually starts to make more and more sense.


local
Birdland
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm
local, Birdland
on Sep 10, 2013 at 12:37 pm
Like this comment

Being sucked down a tube at 600+ MPH is better than the government sucking money from your wallet.


Mark Twain
Kottinger Ranch
on Sep 11, 2013 at 8:29 am
Mark Twain, Kottinger Ranch
on Sep 11, 2013 at 8:29 am
Like this comment

No solution is perfect.Not doing anything is not a good option.If you travel to any other state except I guess New York the freeways are much better then our I-5. We definitely need another lane. So it is either that or look at alternate modes of transportation. Air travel is much more harmful to the environment. Trains will become feasible when the population becomes more dense in say 15-20 years.


Roman
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm
Roman, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm
Like this comment

Well, aside from the pipsqueek contributions of the little guy who posts under muliple monikers on the same sites, it looks like the contingent of right-wing contributors has been thoroughly routed. Kudos to posters like Mike Cherry, th3gtr, and the indefatigable Cholo for cleaning things up. Huff, puff, and call all the names you want, at the end of the day the superior arguments win out.


local
Birdland
on Sep 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm
local, Birdland
on Sep 11, 2013 at 4:18 pm
Like this comment

And the verdict is to stop the high-speed rail project, or at least bring it back to the voters since the project has significantly changed since the voters approved it. If the supporters feel this is a great project, they should have no problems in allowing the voters to weigh-in again. The only reason not to do that is if you knew even before the voters approved this previously that you were going to do a bait-and-switch.


Right
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm
Right, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 11, 2013 at 5:25 pm
Like this comment

Roman, looks like 'local' owned you. As far as your alleged superior arguments, no one has addressed how you are supposed to get from the train to your ultimate destination, especially carrying freight larger than a couple of grocery bags. I guess if roman wants to lump himself in with union shills like mike cherry (speaking of multiple monikers) this looks like the fall of the Roman Empire.


Roman
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm
Roman, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm
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Right/local/clyde, anthony/all other monikers,

I can understand how you might have difficulty making it from home to a train station. You might try waking a bit earlier in the morning in order to give yourself time in case you make a wrong turn or get lost once you reach the end of your alley.

One suggestion, you might try biking with a backpack and a GPS device. Or walking. Or car sharing. You really are too dense to think of these things on your own, aren't you?

Local/all other monikers, you really presume quite a bit without evidence. But, hey, what good is evidence when you believe as you do, right?

If you want to be treated seriously formulate a serious argument. If you can't, hit the road. Many of your compatriot teapartiers have done such, unable to muster anything even remotely resembling a coherent argument.


local
Birdland
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm
local, Birdland
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:00 pm
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Typical person who does not have a good argument; just call the other person names. Roman/Mike/etc, calling others names who disagree with you is getting real tired. You might do more to persuade people if you used facts instead and stayed on the topic, not using second grade debating skills.


Roman
Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm
Roman, Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Sep 11, 2013 at 9:33 pm
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Yeah, local, your debating skills are very sophisticated.

'And the verdict is....'

'Let's vote again' ... and again ... and again ... until I like the outcome.

See, it must've been fixed. I say so. It just must've been, that's all.

You had your chance to enter into serious debate and you and the other right-wing goofs didn't, either on this and other topics. You've got nothing. If you have something serious to say about the high-speed rail system, other than that you wouldn't know how to get from your home to the train station, let us hear it.

Bet you support Republican led congress voting 37 times to repeal Obamacare too. Let's vote another 37 times until we get what you want. You consistently pollute these sites with your pouty, angry-little-boy squeeks. Propose something serious or be prepared to be ridiculed and, yes, called names. It's what your comments earn.


local
Birdland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 9:24 am
local, Birdland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 9:24 am
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Thanks for your 'insightful' comment Roman Cherry. I guess everybody who does not agree with you is a republican? I am so glad we finally have a party-detect system. If somebody agrees with Roman Cherry, they are a democrat. If they disagree, they are a republican. Even though the high-speed train is not a partisan issue, you manage to characterize it that way. Personally I believe the party-politics out there is harmful but I guess you love it. As a point, your party-detect meter is broken since I am not a republican. As Cholo would say "BUSTED".


right
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm
right, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 2:45 pm
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(Comment deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 12, 2013 at 4:07 pm
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I can hardly wait to take a train ride to LA and back!

I can hardly wait! I've already heard that a RT ticket to LA from Oakland will be $10 for senior citizens. Does it get any better than that...NOT!


local
Birdland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm
local, Birdland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:20 pm
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Cholo, you will not be alive when, or if, the train goes to LA and back from the Bay Area. You are also drinking the kool-aid if you think that ride will cost $10.


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:47 pm
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One never knows how long he/she will live. I have longevity on my side!

I've been a cool person all my life. How bout you take the first sip?

tee hee...


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 12, 2013 at 5:49 pm
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Addendum: Me hasa very active magination...I may just take a fun trip on the super train tonight and make a RT to LA and back tonight!

CHOLO RULES! HOORAY!


Roman
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm
Roman, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 12, 2013 at 7:58 pm
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Cholo,
It will be a great day when you and yours will be able to ride the train between LA and San Francisco, something that currently is cost prohibitive for so many who live in the cities and between.

right/local,
(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


local
Birdland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm
local, Birdland
on Sep 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm
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Like your comment Cholo, "I may just take a fun trip on the super train tonight." I guess we can all dream. Either that or 'self-medicate' our selfs into thinking the high-speed rail has come. Busted! Does sound like Roman can use some of your medication to calm him down.

The only way the train can be cheaper than flying now is if there are significant tax subsidies. Not sure if that subsidy will come out of funds for schools, welfare, or what. Possibly the legislature will add another 1-2% on our sales tax to pay for this.

For the next several decades the train will go only between Fresno and Bakersfield. Now that has got a lot of people excited.


Dirty
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:07 am
Dirty, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 13, 2013 at 12:07 am
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How does a couple get over to central valley to 'catch' the train to SoCal for the weekend??? How many transfers & hours spent transferring are involved??? Then rent in car in SoCal. I'd say all adds up to more in dollars, gas, & time, than driving myself south.


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:49 am
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:49 am
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Not to tease you or anything like that but by the time you make up your mind you'll be D E A D!

signed,

LOCO, short for local


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 3:26 pm
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FYI: there's not much difference between LOCO and LOCA! They both mean crazy! tee hee hee...

tee hee hee...


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm
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Dear local...Nobody can predict when another person will die. Take for example 9/11. I don't recall the actual numbers and ages of innocent human beings who lost their lives but some were too young for their lives to have be taken away. The same with the children that were murdered by Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma City. Over the years I've read about young students going crazy and shooting their fellow classmates and teachers in primary and secondary schools. Mass killing have also happened in US colleges. It's truly terrify and insane.

As I recall, there have even been folks in Plutonia who have murdered family. Not to mention the young fellow who killed an innocent bicycle rider while driving wrecklessly.

During the Vietnam, thousands upon thousands of America's best lost their lives so folks like you could live.

I wouldn't be so quick and delighted to predict that o cholo mio won't be around when the RT from the Bay Area to Los Angeles becomes a reality! I'm looking forward to this special joyride.

your truly,

Cholo...HOORAY!


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:25 pm
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Correction: line 8 - During the Vietnam War, thousands upon thousands of America's best lost their lives so that folks like you and your family could live.

i rest my case...


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:28 pm
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(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 4:39 pm
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local...remember this guy?

Web Link


Cholo
Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on Sep 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm
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(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)


Ned
San Ramon
on Sep 16, 2013 at 4:51 pm
Ned, San Ramon
on Sep 16, 2013 at 4:51 pm
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Here is information from the public agency website where Mr. Aaron Fukuda, Tulare Irrigation District Engineer is employed. The hypocrisy. "The Tulare Irrigation District was organized September 21, 1889. The original proposal for the formation of an irrigation district covering 219,000 acres, extending from the Sierra Nevada foothills to Tulare Lake, was eventually reduced to 32,500 acres. The District continued in this status until January of 1948 when the so-called “Kaweah Lands” (approximately 11,000 acres) were annexed.

In October of 1948, approximately 31,000 acres, compromising the area served by the Packwood Canal Company were annexed to the District.

In the early days of the District’s history, $500,000 in bonds were issued. About half was expended for construction of diversion works on the St. Johns River, the main canal heading at the river (including a large flume over the river), together with the purchase of water rights of the Kaweah Canal and Irrigation Company, Rocky Ford Canal and Irrigation Company, and Settlers Ditch Company. The remainder was used for canal construction within the District. The financial difficulties of early 1890’s caused a setback, and attacks on the legality of the formation of the District, and the legality of the bonds made matters worse. By 1895, most of the landowners had begun to default in payment of District assessments. For a number of years, the District practically ceased operating, although water was kept running in the canals. During this period, the litigation over the bonds continued, and economic conditions in both Tulare and the surrounding country reached a low ebb.

After negations with the bondholder, it was found possible to retire the bonds at approximately $0.50 on the dollar, and an assessment of 36 percent of the valuation was made for this purpose. The debt was finally cleared by payment of $273,075 and the bonds were publicly burned on October 17, 1903."


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