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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 16th, 2014, 04:17 AM   #5141
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Why is one of those routes ruler-straight and the other all wobbly?
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Old December 16th, 2014, 06:30 AM   #5142
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What happened to the Dallas-Austin-San Antonio line? or is that still in the works?
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Old December 16th, 2014, 07:08 AM   #5143
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
Why is one of those routes ruler-straight and the other all wobbly?
Presumably because the one with all the tangents is a utility corridor (power lines?), while the wobbly one is a railroad, which has many curves and slight alignment changes due to property rights, geographical obstacles, and the need to serve customer locations impossible with a perfectly straight alignment.
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Old December 16th, 2014, 08:06 AM   #5144
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aquaticko View Post
Why is one of those routes ruler-straight and the other all wobbly?
The difference between both these routes is simple: One follows the BNSF (red) railroad tracks and the other follows utility over head transformer lines (orange). The reason why the BNSF alignment has so many curves is simply because of the original railroad right of way; and the reason why the utility alignment is so straight is because most of these utility lines cross over very sparse and expanse rural territory. Bets are that the utility route will be the one likely chosen because of the fact it is so straight. The Japan Bank of International Coordination is making a deal to finance the construction of the entire line and the Japan Railway is part of the leading team building this line, although they are "not financing" it. Since the money is privately financed the TCR is looking to spend very carefully and save as much as possible.

To answer pi_malejana, the Dallas-Austin-San Antonio will be a later addition to the corridor. In the meantime the main focus is to focus resources on the Dallas and Houston corridor. A Dallas and Fort Worth connection is already in the works of planning, as we speak, and engineers have agreed that an alignment along the interstate 30 corridor will be suitable for it.
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Old December 16th, 2014, 08:40 AM   #5145
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua Dodd View Post
For those interested, these are the two routes that are currently being considered for the Texas HSR corridor:

https://dallashoustonhsr.files.wordp...er-19-2014.jpg
Thanks for posting this. The utility alignment looks a lot better/faster. It looks like it will be able to pull out of the station and reach high speed just a few minutes afterwards.

Looking at the BNSF alignment I wonder if the curve radius is already fit for 217 mph speeds. I also wonder why this would be an option unless this was so.
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Old December 16th, 2014, 09:27 AM   #5146
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From what I am hearing the utility alignment will make the best bet. The problem, however, is with local land owners who do not want the line. With the BNSF option there is plenty of space since the railroad's land rights expand far beyond the base of their railroads. All the HSR needs is 80 feet of space and the railroad alignment has that, minus the land owner disputes. But the utility is the best option. From Dallas to Houston in 90 minutes vs a 4 hour drive. The train will only take 37.5% the amount of time it would otherwise take to commute by car. Of course, this estimation does not include stops for gas and traffic conditions. So probably less of a percent than that.
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Last edited by Joshua Dodd; December 16th, 2014 at 09:34 AM.
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Old December 16th, 2014, 09:46 AM   #5147
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Quote:
The problem, however, is with local land owners who do not want the line.
Perhaps they can be persuaded with some financial incentives, certainly about $250 million or so can be set aside for these issues along with discrete negotiation, without resorting to eminent domain.
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Old December 16th, 2014, 01:17 PM   #5148
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This article is a good example of land issues at hand for the project:

http://www.waxahachietx.com/midlothi...c77eb6a73.html
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Old December 16th, 2014, 08:14 PM   #5149
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I'm willing to bet that a certain section of Texans will fight tooth and nail against this project regardless of where financing is coming from. Almost like in California...
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Old December 17th, 2014, 04:31 AM   #5150
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Would it be reasonable to extend it a bit west to College Station? How far out of the way are those two proposed lines now?
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Old December 17th, 2014, 06:00 AM   #5151
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It would make no difference if the lines were extended within a close range of College Station because the line will have no station there.
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Old December 17th, 2014, 07:07 AM   #5152
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I doubt Texans would fight against a privately funded project. Aren't Texans pro-capitalism?
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Old December 17th, 2014, 07:32 AM   #5153
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I doubt Texans would fight against a privately funded project. Aren't Texans pro-capitalism?
There also Pro-Oil...which has well lubed the various Political coffers of the state.
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Old December 17th, 2014, 11:35 AM   #5154
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I doubt Texans would fight against a privately funded project. Aren't Texans pro-capitalism?
Texans are very pro business, yes. However, I would like to elaborate on what exactly this means since so many people seem to misconstrue this concept with either stereotypes or ideological bias. Understandably.
Yes, Texans are pro capitalism. This is no surprise. But what does this really mean? What it means is that Texans are pro small mom and pop style independent businesses. That's what they prefer. As long as businesses respect the people, their rights, and most importantly: Their land, there is usually no issue. This is what it means when Texans say they are pro capitalism.
The misconception when someone says they are pro capitalism is the baggage that comes with the notorious history of bug business. It's as though saying I am for capitalism assumes I am also pro monopolies and cronyism. This is far from the truth. In fact, just look at Texas' history with people fighting corporations and you will find that we are very very anti-crony capitalism. Just like any other person in the country. There have been historical cases where land owners take arms and blood is spilled because of cronyism taking advantage of people.
I personally find the biggest problem is people's loyalty to political parties and their ideological bias. That's the thorn everywhere. Otherwise Texans are very independently minded and tend to mind their own business and do what they can for their communities. For the most part the TCR is being very careful to respect people and their private property and has chosen two routes that, for the most part, avoid creeping on people's land and uses either existing railroad right of ways or utility right of ways.
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Old December 17th, 2014, 07:36 PM   #5155
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Just a thought: Will the project survive the next presidential elections? It looks like the republicans will make it(!?). But high Speed Rail is a very long term investment most likely wihout directly attribuable profits...

How "solid" is the project when it comes to political changes? Are fundings already secured, or may they be withdrawn depending on political opportunity?
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Old December 17th, 2014, 09:28 PM   #5156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisu99 View Post
Just a thought: Will the project survive the next presidential elections? It looks like the republicans will make it(!?). But high Speed Rail is a very long term investment most likely wihout directly attribuable profits...

How "solid" is the project when it comes to political changes? Are fundings already secured, or may they be withdrawn depending on political opportunity?
Yes. It has no federal funding pending--so nothing to be cut off in the worst case--although they'd obviously love to get more. Right now, the money available, aside from "stimulus" funds that can't be rescinded and are probably mostly spent, is mainly from the state and they are mainly trying to get private money.
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Old December 17th, 2014, 09:30 PM   #5157
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U.S. board: Federal law on high-speed rail trumps state environmental lawsuits
BY TIM SHEEHAN
The Fresno BeeDecember 15, 2014

A three-member panel of presidential appointees has potentially derailed seven lawsuits challenging the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s approval of its Fresno-Bakersfield bullet-train route and raised questions about how California environmental law will apply to other planned rail sections across the state.

The U.S. Surface Transportation Board, in a ruling issued late Friday, declared on a 2-1 vote that the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, “is categorically pre-empted” in connection with the Fresno-Bakersfield route, which the federal panel OK’d for construction earlier this year.

“CEQA … by its very nature, could be used to deny or significantly delay an entity’s right to construct a line that the (federal) board has specifically authorized,” the ruling stated, “thus impinging upon the board’s exclusive jurisdiction over rail transportation.”

Therefore, board chairman Daniel Elliott III and vice chairwoman Deb Miller stated, lawsuits against the rail line — filed under CEQA by plaintiffs in Kings and Kern counties in Sacramento County Superior Court — and the ability of state judges to issue injunctions to halt work are barred by a federal law that “expressly pre-empts any state law attempts to regulate rail construction projects” . . . .
Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/12/15/...#storylink=cpy
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Old December 17th, 2014, 09:34 PM   #5158
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State will finally break ground in Fresno on high-speed rail construction
BY TIM SHEEHAN
The Fresno BeeDecember 12, 2014

The California High-Speed Rail Authority will officially break ground next month in Fresno on construction of its statewide bullet-train route.

The Jan. 6 groundbreaking ceremony, announced Friday afternoon, comes about a year and a half after the agency awarded its first construction contract, a $1 billion deal to design and build the first 29-mile section from Madera to the south end of Fresno. Since the contract was signed in August 2013, the construction consortium of Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons has been engineering and designing the work. Subcontractors began demolishing some buildings and clearing parcels last summer as the rail authority slowly began acquiring the land needed for the right of way.

Neither a time nor location have been named for the ceremony. Earlier this year, representatives of the contracting team said that the first tangible construction was likely to happen in Madera, where an elevated bridge will be built to span the Fresno River and Highway 145 on the eastern edge of the city. Engineers with the rail authority, in the meantime, suggested that the first construction would occur in downtown Fresno.

The formal start of construction has been years in the making. California voters approved Proposition 1A, a $9.9 billion bond measure to help finance a high-speed rail system, in November 2008. But it wasn’t until the fall of 2010, when the Obama administration and the Federal Railroad Administration directed more than $3 billion in federal stimulus and transportation grants to California to begin construction in the central San Joaquin Valley, that the project began to move off the drawing board.

The rail board approved its Merced-Fresno route segment in May 2012, except for a portion around Chowchilla where the agency continues to evaluate route options. That’s where part of the line will branch off through the Pacheco Pass to the San Francisco Peninsula.

Between the federal money and bond funds from Prop. 1A, the rail agency has about $6 billion available to build the backbone of its system from Merced to Bakersfield. But that’s less than 10% of the estimated $68 billion cost to span the statewide system’s first 520-mile phase from Los Angeles to San Francisco by 2028 or 2029 . . . .

Just where the rest of the money will come from is uncertain. While state legislators agreed this fall to allocate 25% of annual cap-and-trade money — funds paid to California by companies for credits to offset their air pollution emissions — starting next year, the Valley’s Republican representatives in Congress have vowed to block any more federal money for the project. The rail authority said it anticipates that private industry will eventually step up to invest in the project, and while a number of companies have expressed interest in participating, none have put forth concrete proposals to date.
Read more here: http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/12/12/...#storylink=cpy
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Old December 18th, 2014, 03:48 AM   #5159
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FINALLY, what we've all been hoping for these last few years!!!!!
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Old December 18th, 2014, 04:37 AM   #5160
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisu99 View Post
Just a thought: Will the project survive the next presidential elections? It looks like the republicans will make it(!?). But high Speed Rail is a very long term investment most likely wihout directly attribuable profits...

How "solid" is the project when it comes to political changes? Are fundings already secured, or may they be withdrawn depending on political opportunity?
Money is already secured. Regardless of politics, the project will move forward. It's more dependent on economic factors than it is political
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