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Four-track design back on the table for high-speed rail

Original post made on Feb 10, 2012

A new analysis by the California High-Speed Rail Authority calling for a four-track rail system between the Bay Area and Central Valley has set off a fresh wave of criticism from Palo Alto and surrounding cities, with many calling the latest document a betrayal of the rail authority's earlier promises.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, February 10, 2012, 10:54 AM

Comments (7)

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:14 am

It's high time that these scam artists were investigated and charged. Let's get back the money we already spent on this grift, and spend no more on it.

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Posted by m
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 10, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Just a thought....., maybe moving it all next to highways and away from residential area

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Posted by Ron
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:10 pm

So where would that be? How many thousands of homes and businesses do you bulldoze to put this "next to the highways". Not saying the current solution is the best, but it IS based upon an existing rail corridor.

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Posted by kman
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:33 pm

You gotta be kidding me, when will this madness end? This just shows how out of touch government is. Railroads are a thing of the past, were it failed before, look at the Zeyher train, out of business after 30 yrs. Electric cars are the wave of the future.

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Posted by Waldo
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 10, 2012 at 2:35 pm

Send it down the middle of the bay; the bridges are already tall enough, and that would limit it to two stops: San Jose and San Francisco.

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Posted by Hugh Jardonn
a resident of another community
on Feb 10, 2012 at 5:17 pm

It’s time to cancel the California high speed rail project and disband CHSRA. This is due to the ballooning project costs and continuing dishonesty on the part of the California High Speed Rail Authority. The latest revelation is that claims that high speed rail would create a million jobs have been proven false. The San Jose Mercury explains “The 1-million figure came from the project’s technical studies. It actually was the number of “job years,” a statistical term that counts years of work rather than actual jobs. One person working for five years adds up to five job years in this parlance.”

Governor Moonbeam should pay attention to the HSR peer review group, the legislative analysts office, the state auditor, the UC Berkeley Institute of Transportation Studies and other impartial observers who have raised legitimate objections to this project. Focusing on the relatively minor lobbyist issue glosses over the serious deficiencies of the high speed rail project.

The high speed rail project now being pushed by the Governor and the High Speed Rail Authority is not the same project that the voters approved in 2008. The Authority is guilty of pulling a “bait and switch” on taxpayers, who live in a state in deep denial of its financial problems. If not canceled immediately, the revised and more expensive project needs a re-vote.

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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:
Web Link

“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:
Web Link

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