Wednesday, March 6, 2013

High Speed Rails Wins Alignment Lawsuit

A few years ago the cities of Atherton, Menlo Park, and Palo Alto filed a lawsuit to prevent California High Speed Rail trains from passing through their cities. Basically a few extremely wealthy communities are trying to block a project that will benefit millions of people. Thankfully, last week a judge dismissed the case. The high speed trains will indeed take the most efficient route in the Bay Area, which is from San Jose to San Francisco via the Penninsula (as opposed to San Jose >> Oakland >> San Francisco). Now the next step is actually funding this $40+ billion project.

Source: SJBJ




CAHSTMap_Overview: Click to Enlarge

10 comments:

  1. This will be a 90+Billion Dollar project. Probably wont be complete until 2050 and will end up underutilized without signifigant modification of the existing mass transit infrastructure in the cities that it connects. California HSR has confirmed to me that California is not going to reach solvency in my lifetime and I am looking towards Washington State for better governance.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Praise the Lord! Suck it, Peninsula!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anon #1 aka The Despondent One,

    90 billion spread over nearly 35 years. Not bad, that's less than $3 billion a year. I believe that $90 billion already has inflation figured in to it, so pricewise it will still be expensive, but I would not call it extravagant.

    By 2050, there will a lot more people concentrated into the mega regions of California. The light rail will definitely be utilized quite well. This is thinking ahead of the curves, and I applaud California for this.

    By the way, I voted against the first bond measure used for the rail project. And I voted against it last time as well. But I have come to my senses after parsing through many many viewpoints of both pro and con. And a trip to France and Switzerland also changed my view of high-speed rails as well. We don't need to catch up to the Europeans or the Chinese or the Japanese regarding HSR, because we don't have to. They need HSR because their streets are just not conducive to cars. Our streets are. So I think it is entirely fine to blend many modes of transportation together to make it work for our citizens here in this state.

    I'm not going to say anything about Washington State, it's a lovely state, just like California. There are pros and cons to both places, ultimately it's just up to you to decide :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Brilliant post. The $90 billion is extrapolated for inflation (I believe it's 2035 dollars). Its not on the map above, but DesertXpress HSR from Palmdale to Vegas should also be awesome.

      Delete
  4. @Bob I too have been to Europe and travelled on the fantastic rail systems born of density and utilization. I am in fact a supporter of the idea of High Speed Rail in areas where it would be effective and efficient. California is not one of those areas due to sprawl and underutilization of public transit. Had the state put forth a bond measure to improve the public transit networks of its major cities with a trigger for HSR tied to utilization growth, I would have been all for this measure. The fact that we are ignoring cost(call it inflation), density, and existing options, clearly illustrates why this will be an expensive excercise in futility(See VTA Light-rail). Air travel is and will continue to be the most affordable and convenient way to travel for business and recreation in California well past 2050. As a non native to this state,I can only be dumbfounded by the lack of commonsense in the leadership of this state.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "The initial impetus for the introduction of high speed rail was the need for additional capacity to meet increasing demand for passenger rail travel. Urban density and mass transit have been key factors in the success of European and Japanese railway transport, especially in countries such as Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Spain and France." Pulled Quote from the High Speed Rail wiki.

    ReplyDelete
  6. California already has the population density of countries like France and Spain (both of which have HSR systems). Sure places like Japan and Germany have a higher density... but their HSR systems are much more expansive than what California is proposing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Suburban Density (Los Angeles)vs Urban Density(NY,SF,London) are two completely differenct variables. California has less than a 2% utilization of existing mass transity systems. Compared to the $8-10/gal petrol and high auto tax rates in Europe that push people onto mass transit and depress auto sales across the board, there is no way for Cal HSR to succeed especially with increasing sprawl and and deteriorating existing infrastructure.

      Delete
    2. I think one thing people, which is a pro for the California system, is while our layout may be more suburban than most places, all of our population is concentrated into a few small areas, the percentage of the California population that is rural is miniscule.

      Delete
    3. Though it is very true that the per sq mile density is high due to the limited nature of our geography. It will be a hard sell barring a huge increase in gas and jet fuel costs. The US is poised to become the top supplier of oil and natural gas in the next decade so that scenario is highly unlikely. I am all for public transit and hope the bay area can make a more compelling arguement as to why it should be utilized, but California is car centric and continues to lead the nation in building car dependant neighbourhoods. High Speed Rail will cost even more than my earlier estimate of 90B if once the imminant domain lawsuits and lack of ridership are totalled, but for the Future residents of California I hope I am wrong.

      Delete