Posted by Steve Ly, a resident of another community, on Feb 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm
The high speed rail project stinks and the fact that CHSRA is not being responsive to Peninsula concerns are just another manifistation of this.
For example, the argument that we need high speed rail because the alternatives are more expensive is hogwash. The LA Times reported on it here:
“Now, that alternative is coming under attack by a state-appointed panel of experts, who will soon release an assessment of the rail project’s business plan and cast doubt on the accuracy and validity of the $171-billion figure,” The Times reported.
“There is some dishonesty in the methodology,” said Samer Madanat, director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Transportation Studies, the top research center of its type in the nation. “I don’t trust an estimate like this.”
Furthermore, the LA Times reports that the city of Burlingame weighed in too. “The astounding figure is completely divorced from any reality over the next 50 years,” city officials wrote urging the authority to stop using the number. Madanat said the rail authority has rebuffed offers to have UC Berkeley, UC Irvine and UC Davis, which have among the top five university transportation departments in the nation, help analyze the bullet-train system.
Now Rich, why would the rail authority resist offers for UC to analyze the HSR system? Is CHSRA claiming that the University of California cannot be objective?
“You have a tremendous conflict of interest,” said Elizabeth Goldstein Alexis, co-founder of the watchdog group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design. “You can’t see where the authority ends and the private consultants begin because they are so intertwined. It is extraordinary the institutional conflicts of interest that exist all over this project.”
And you can’t wash away the report of another independent agency, the State Auditor Elaine Howle, who said that “the program’s overall financial situation has become increasingly risky.” Web Link
Highlights of the State Auditor report:
1. The cost estimates do not include phase one’s operating and maintenance costs, yet based on data in the plan these costs could total about $96.8 billion from 2025 through 2060.
2. There are no details about the current largest potential funding source, the federal government.
3. There have been inappropriate contracting practices such as splitting Information Technology services totaling $3.1 million into 13 individual contracts with one vendor. The State Contracting Manual prohibits agencies from splitting contracts to avoid competitive bidding requirements.
4. The authority is missing statements of economic interest for some of its contractors despite the conflict-of-interest code requirements; and the authority does not require any of its subcontractors to file statements of economic interest. As a result, the authority has no way to verify that subcontractors do not have real or perceived conflicts of interest.
5. “There is no way the high-speed rail can meet the latest forecast of 36.8 million rides a year on a San Francisco-to-Los Angeles system. Where will the riders come from? There are only about 3.2 million airline riders a year going to and from Los Angeles and San Francisco and another 1.7 million traveling between Los Angeles and Oakland and San Jose.
And estimates of jobs created by the high speed rail project have been misleadingly inflated by using weasel-words like “job-years” as described in this report: