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View Poll Results: Should the US build or improve it's HSR network?
Yes 249 89.57%
No 29 10.43%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Old December 9th, 2014, 08:55 AM   #5121
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Well let's not beat around the bush most of the opposition is actually rooted in a desire to simply keep taxes low. It is classic short term thinking. Don't spend this money today because you just have to get that upgraded SUV and screw the long term ramifications. ME ME ME. NOW! NOW! NOW!
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Old December 9th, 2014, 07:13 PM   #5122
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From Rail Journal:

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http://www.railjournal.com/index.php...ml?channel=535

Bombardier pulls out of Amtrak HS procurement
Tuesday, December 09, 2014



BOMBARDIER says that it will not compete in a tender for a contract to supply a new generation of high-speed trains to Amtrak for the Boston – New York – Washington DC Northeast Corridor (NEC), citing changes in the specification for its withdrawal

Amtrak is planning to acquire 28 trains with the aim of increasing seating capacity on the NEC by 40% compared with the existing Acela Express fleet, which will be replaced by the new trains.

A request for proposals closed on October 1 but Amtrak has not released details of the prospective bidders

...
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Old December 10th, 2014, 05:08 AM   #5123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basincreek View Post
Well let's not beat around the bush most of the opposition is actually rooted in a desire to simply keep taxes low. It is classic short term thinking. Don't spend this money today because you just have to get that upgraded SUV and screw the long term ramifications. ME ME ME. NOW! NOW! NOW!
There's nothing wrong w/ that line of thinking tbh. I'm from the school of thought that claims it's better to save your money and spend within your limits, rather than go all out and spend like there's not tomorrow.

The US could afford to finance the largest public works project in US history; we could afford to finance FDR's New Deal, but that was the 50s and the 30s, this is now. Debt is a real thing, budget deficits are a real thing, defaulting on one's credit is a real thing. I'm a champion for austerity and lower taxes, but even I concede that it's important to invest in your infrastructure or else you'll pay the price when the neither the money nor political will power is there in the future.

The gas tax is a great example of this.
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Old December 11th, 2014, 01:34 AM   #5124
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Originally Posted by CollegeBoy View Post
There's nothing wrong w/ that line of thinking tbh. I'm from the school of thought that claims it's better to save your money and spend within your limits, rather than go all out and spend like there's not tomorrow.

The US could afford to finance the largest public works project in US history; we could afford to finance FDR's New Deal, but that was the 50s and the 30s, this is now. Debt is a real thing, budget deficits are a real thing, defaulting on one's credit is a real thing. I'm a champion for austerity and lower taxes, but even I concede that it's important to invest in your infrastructure or else you'll pay the price when the neither the money nor political will power is there in the future.

The gas tax is a great example of this.
The new deal was deficit financed or through higher taxes. The debt/GDP ratio was higher at the end of the 2nd world war and in the 1950s than it is today. In those circumstances the US managed to start the construction of the Interstate highway system, finance the Marshall plan (which BTW way was funding projects in foreign countries) and perhaps an increase in defense spending due to the cold war.
Federal Budgets deficits are currently on their way down which means debt/GDP ratio will most likely not reach the levels they did in 1945. Tax rates are not in any way higher today than they were 60 years ago.
There is massive overspending in the defense sector which if directed towards infrastructure spending could more than compensate for the loss of economic output due to reduced defense spending.
In fact I will say let the Dept of Defense be given the the responsibility of the infrastructure building including high speed rail and the defense contractors be allowed to bid for projects and see how quickly the priority changes.
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Old December 11th, 2014, 04:20 AM   #5125
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Quote:
Dept of Defense be given the the responsibility of the infrastructure building including high speed rail and the defense contractors be allowed to bid for projects and see how quickly the priority changes.
Probably one of the last things you want to do- defense contractors are responsible for gigantic cost blowouts with little accountability (F35 anyone?). Also, you want contractors/builders that actually know what they are doing- i.e. you want railway builders to build railways, railway rolling stock builders to build trains. Boeing (who make great planes) once built some streetcars (the LRVs)- they were rolling pieces of crap.
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Old December 11th, 2014, 05:06 AM   #5126
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k.k.jetcar View Post
Probably one of the last things you want to do- defense contractors are responsible for gigantic cost blowouts with little accountability (F35 anyone?). Also, you want contractors/builders that actually know what they are doing- i.e. you want railway builders to build railways, railway rolling stock builders to build trains. Boeing (who make great planes) once built some streetcars (the LRVs)- they were rolling pieces of crap.
I agree. Just mentioning the state of affairs. If HSR was demanded by the defense establishment then it would get done with overwhelming political support.
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Old December 11th, 2014, 11:42 PM   #5127
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Sshh we need to protect America from terrorist by allowing the Department of Defense to build 6000 Miles of the 2015 Omnibus Protect America Rail Project. It will cost $1.1 Trillion but this is what it will take to protect America. We don't need no socialist high speed rail that's for those Europeans (even though Japan developed it). We just need the DoD to protect us.
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Old December 12th, 2014, 06:37 PM   #5128
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From Railway Gazette:

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http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/s...e-section.html

California selects preferred bidder to build second high speed line section
12 Dec 2014



USA: The California High Speed Rail Authority announced on December 12 that it had selected a consortium of Dragados, Flatiron and Shimmick as preferred bidder for a design-build contract covering construction of a further 96 route-km of high speed line in the Central Valley.

In selecting the ‘apparent best value bid’ from the three submitted, CHSRA valued Construction Package 2-3 at ‘between $1·5bn and $2bn’. Dragados-Flatiron-Shimmick submitted an offer of $1·2bn, the authority reported. Bids from the competing consortia were valued at $1·7bn and $2·1bn respectively. The formal award of a contract is subject to final approval by the CHSRA board ‘in the coming weeks’.

CP2-3 is the second civil works package to be let by the authority. In June 2013 it selected a joint venture of Tutor Perini, Zachry Construction and Parsons for the $985m CP1, which covers civil works on the 47 km Madera – Fresno segment of the 480 km Initial Operating Section between Merced and the San Fernando Valley

...
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Old December 12th, 2014, 08:21 PM   #5129
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Quote:
California selects contractors for next phase of bullet train route
By RALPH VARTABEDIAN

The state high-speed rail authority took another key step Thursday in building the initial segments of the bullet train system between Los Angeles and San Francisco, saying it had preliminarily selected a team of contractors for another 65 miles of the route through the Central Valley.

While the agency continues to move ahead with planning, contracts, legal settlements and political agreements, it has yet to start heavy construction in Fresno, which was expected about two years ago. But officials have vowed that the late start will not delay their completion dates in 2017 and 2018 for about 130 miles of rail line from Madera to Bakersfield.

The team for the 65-mile section, led by Dragados USA, a subsidiary of a Spanish construction firm, submitted the lowest of three bids for the new contract and was judged as having the highest technical competence score. It submitted a bid of $1.23 billion, well below the $1.74 billion submitted by the team led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini and the $2.07 billion by the team led by Samsung E&C Americas, a Los Angeles-based unit of a South Korean conglomerate.

The low bid came in well under the state estimate of $1.5 billion to $2 billion for the work. Jeff Morales, chief executive of the rail agency, credited the low prices to strong competition and said Thursday's decision is a "significant milestone" in the project . . . .

The 65-mile segment runs from near downtown Fresno south to the Kern County line, passing nearby but not through the small farming towns of Hanford, Allensworth and Corcoran. The cost of the segment, about $19 million per mile, is significantly less than the 29-mile segment through an urbanized part of Fresno, which will cost about $34 million per mile.

The new segment of rail has been among the most controversial in the Central Valley, raising the ire of farmers who said the line was bisecting pristine agriculture fields with some of the richest soil in the state, if not the nation. The route planning triggered a number of lawsuits by farmers and counties.

Hanford officials strongly objected to having trains running through their historic downtown at 220 mph. Instead, the route swings in a semicircle to the east. Another bypass near Corcoran avoids sensitive wetlands. An Allensworth bypass avoids a wildlife preserve and a historic state park, according to rail agency documents . . . .
http://www.latimes.com/local/califor...212-story.html
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Old December 13th, 2014, 12:30 AM   #5130
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CollegeBoy View Post
There's nothing wrong w/ that line of thinking tbh. I'm from the school of thought that claims it's better to save your money and spend within your limits, rather than go all out and spend like there's not tomorrow.

The US could afford to finance the largest public works project in US history; we could afford to finance FDR's New Deal, but that was the 50s and the 30s, this is now. Debt is a real thing, budget deficits are a real thing, defaulting on one's credit is a real thing. I'm a champion for austerity and lower taxes, but even I concede that it's important to invest in your infrastructure or else you'll pay the price when the neither the money nor political will power is there in the future.

The gas tax is a great example of this.
There is a lot wrong with that line of thinking. It's why my town almost defunded the fire department because there hadn't been a major fire in a couple of years and some people wanted to keep that fire money rather than pay taxes for a fire department that hadn't been used in awhile. Thankfully they were stopped just one year before the largest forest fire in California history almost destroyed the entire town.
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Old December 14th, 2014, 12:34 AM   #5131
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I took a look at the business plan draft, publised this year, 2014:

http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/bus...iness_Plan.pdf

I was really, really surprised of what i read, which did not match at all with what i was expecting.

Regarding construction cost i was very surprised to see a very low figure for land acquisition, only 4 billon. If construction goes ahead probably the figure will be multiplied several times. What was really shocking was the figure for estructures, 19 billion, what in the hell are they going to build???????????????????????????????????
We have a 50 kilometers tunnel in Spain that actually burned 4 billion, including all kind of overcost.

Regarding demand it seems a very, very low figure, compared with the population involved and other high density lines around the world. 30 millions pax per year for 2030 really seems an underestimation.
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Old December 14th, 2014, 01:26 AM   #5132
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By the way, did anyone get a laugh out of the winning bid price that Dragados gave?

$1,234,567,890


That's the combination I have on my luggage!
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Old December 14th, 2014, 01:30 AM   #5133
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayancito View Post
I took a look at the business plan draft, publised this year, 2014:

http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/bus...iness_Plan.pdf

I was really, really surprised of what i read, which did not match at all with what i was expecting.

Regarding construction cost i was very surprised to see a very low figure for land acquisition, only 4 billon. If construction goes ahead probably the figure will be multiplied several times. What was really shocking was the figure for estructures, 19 billion, what in the hell are they going to build???????????????????????????????????
We have a 50 kilometers tunnel in Spain that actually burned 4 billion, including all kind of overcost.

Regarding demand it seems a very, very low figure, compared with the population involved and other high density lines around the world. 30 millions pax per year for 2030 really seems an underestimation.
Structures are expensive to build in California. Tunnels, in particular, tend to come out at almost a $billion a mile (that would be about $600 million a kilometer). They are actually estimating lower than normal costs for the high speed train hoping that economies of scale will help out.
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Old December 14th, 2014, 09:59 AM   #5134
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rayancito View Post
Regarding construction cost i was very surprised to see a very low figure for land acquisition, only 4 billon. If construction goes ahead probably the figure will be multiplied several times. What was really shocking was the figure for estructures, 19 billion, what in the hell are they going to build???????????????????????????????????
We have a 50 kilometers tunnel in Spain that actually burned 4 billion, including all kind of overcost.

Regarding demand it seems a very, very low figure, compared with the population involved and other high density lines around the world. 30 millions pax per year for 2030 really seems an underestimation.
The low figure for land acquisition probably is because in the urbanized areas, where land would be expensive, they plan to use rights of way such as that of CalTrain, the commuter rail line between San Francisco and San Jose, and, south of LA, more track already owned. What they will have to buy is very rural land, some of it mountain and desert and unsuitable for farming, and some of it in state and other parks that the also may not have to buy.

As for the structures, I suspect we are talking tunnels. The difficult and expensive part of this project is the 3 mountain ranges it must cross: Pacheco Pass across the Coast Range from San Jose into the Central Valley, Tahachapi Pass across the southern Sierra from the Central Valley into the Mojave Desert and then back into the LA Basin (not sure the name of that pass). I'm not sure of the length of these tunnels but each of them could be 30 miles or more (possibly a lot more). And it is unsurprising to me if construction costs in California are higher than in Spain.

The reason ridership may not be what a European would expect is simply that, having taken the train to downtown LA, one is then deposited in a city that is geographically huge but lacking in comprehensive public transit. LA's transit system is getting better as they expand the Metro and by 2030 it could be a lot better, but the potential travel distances from the central station are still long. Some people are going to want to keep doing it the way they do now--fly in and get a rental car at the airport--especially if their ultimate destination is nearer the airport than downtown.
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Old December 14th, 2014, 10:41 AM   #5135
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I still think it was and is a mistake to run a "blended system" with Caltrain between San Francisco and San Jose. They should widen tracks to 4-track there, or else run the train up north to Tracy, and then build a spur connecting it Hayward, then a bridge over the bay (easy, shallow waters), and then a blended system only between San Francisco airport and the Transbay terminal.

This would also make it easier to link Sacramento with the mains HSR axis.

It is a similar issue that affects, to a lesser degree, the connection to San Diego.
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Old December 14th, 2014, 12:00 PM   #5136
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cal_Escapee View Post
The reason ridership may not be what a European would expect is simply that, having taken the train to downtown LA, one is then deposited in a city that is geographically huge but lacking in comprehensive public transit. LA's transit system is getting better as they expand the Metro and by 2030 it could be a lot better, but the potential travel distances from the central station are still long. Some people are going to want to keep doing it the way they do now--fly in and get a rental car at the airport--especially if their ultimate destination is nearer the airport than downtown.
It's perfectly possible to take a train and then rent a car at the train station.
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Old December 14th, 2014, 06:42 PM   #5137
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Quote:
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I still think it was and is a mistake to run a "blended system" with Caltrain between San Francisco and San Jose. They should widen tracks to 4-track there, or else run the train up north to Tracy, and then build a spur connecting it Hayward, then a bridge over the bay (easy, shallow waters), and then a blended system only between San Francisco airport and the Transbay terminal.

This would also make it easier to link Sacramento with the mains HSR axis.

It is a similar issue that affects, to a lesser degree, the connection to San Diego.
I thought quadrupling of the caltrain tracks between San Francisco and San Jose was very much on the cards. Just that the formalities have not been worked out. As for the blended system, IMO it is a good idea. The trains use the available facilities for stations and this reduces the cost of building the network. The avg speeds might drop a little but it offers the possibility of better intermodal connections with conventional trains, subway trains, light rail, buses and taxis. Gaps in the high speed sections can be filled up later when ridership and finances demand/permit it.
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Old December 15th, 2014, 11:14 AM   #5138
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Blended operations is only temporary anyways. Once things get really running they will four track the thing all the way through. You can count on it.
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Old December 15th, 2014, 11:21 AM   #5139
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For those interested, these are the two routes that are currently being considered for the Texas HSR corridor:

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Old December 15th, 2014, 11:33 AM   #5140
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And a project timeline:
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