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California High Speed Rail
Old 07-07-2012, 07:33 AM   #1
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California High Speed Rail

California has approved the initial sale of bonds in the amount of $4.5B to start a high speed rail project. They now will get another $3.2B from the fed for this project. It will build the first segment from Madera to Bakersfield and will end with the total rail line from L.A. to Sacremento. Total cost $68B. Would you buy these bonds?
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Old 07-07-2012, 08:53 AM   #2
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Well I hear their are a lot of people from Fresno are wanting to get to Bakersfield for quick weekend getaways. Seriously though, I don't buy bonds, but I thought these things never work out. If its not anymore profitable than Amtrack or LV Monorail it will be another financial moneypit. Maybe Im wrong but people love their cars. And if gas ever gets too high which it never quite seems to happen, you watch natural gas ( currently a little over $1 a gallon I read ) will come in and save the day and mass transit will be avoided yet again.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:03 AM   #3
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And I thought this was about high speed rail from LA to Vegas
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:13 AM   #4
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I'm a Californian but it sounds like a very poor idea. As I recall it was voted on in 2008 before the economic meltdown had taken hold of the average voter's mind set. Here is the Wikipedia version if you want some details: California High-Speed Rail - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I hope this thread does not become another California bashing festival or a chance to show off one's political biases.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:15 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
I hope this thread does not become another California bashing festival or a chance to show off one's political biases.
+1

The first segment runs from Madera to Bakersfield? Seems silly. If the money runs out after the first segment, we have a line that goes from almost nowhere to almost nowhere. The main idea has to be to connect LA, Sacramento and the Bay Area population centers, and the first segment reaches none of those. Of course, this will be the cheapest segment by far with no mountains to work around, lots of open space and fairly cheap land (by CA standards).
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:18 AM   #6
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I'm not a Californian. By me seems they talk about high speed rail each four years (hmm..about election time), then never follow through.

If they get in done and complete the project, nice to have options of travel.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:22 AM   #7
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I'm not a Californian. By me seems they talk about high speed rail each four years (hmm..about election time), then never follow through.

If they get in done and complete the project, nice to have options of travel.
And you have to watch them for follow through. I was still living in San Jose when Santa Clara County approved an extension of a half-cent local sales tax over 20 years to extend BART to San Jose. The vote was 70-30 in favor of the tax, more than the 2/3 required by Prop 13 for a targeted tax increase.

But the economy went south in the 2000 dot-com bust and officials said they couldn't afford the BART extension project with the revised revenue projections. The voter-approved tax, specifically targeted for that project, did not disappear (of course). So the voters still get their tax and more than a dozen years later, BART to San Jose is just a dream for many.
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:55 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
I hope this thread does not become another California bashing festival or a chance to show off one's political biases.
Based on the replies so far, it sounds like a bad idea. So what's wrong with criticism of the people who approved it, and those who voted them into office? And criticizing a politician isn't automatically a sign of 'political bias'. CA in particular is not in a position to throw money down rabbit holes.

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Old 07-07-2012, 09:56 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ziggy29
+1

The first segment runs from Madera to Bakersfield? Seems silly. If the money runs out after the first segment, we have a line that goes from almost nowhere to almost nowhere. The main idea has to be to connect LA, Sacramento and the Bay Area population centers, and the first segment reaches none of those. Of course, this will be the cheapest segment by far with no mountains to work around, lots of open space and fairly cheap land (by CA standards).
It appears it is to eventually connect San Fran to LA for a modest final cost of $68 billion dollars. I guess it is a political issue out there at the capital as the senate approved it on a party line vote of 21-16. Gov. Brown said it is important for job creation and for population increase that will occur out in that area. Republicans are saying it is spending money they don't have and its a train to nowhere that the subsidies will blast a hole through their budget.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:14 AM   #10
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from the wiki link earlier (emph mine):

Quote:
In January 2012, an independent peer review panel published a report recommending the Legislature not approve issuing $2.7 billion in bonds to fund the project.[27] The panel of experts was created by state law to help safeguard the public's interest. The report said that moving ahead on the high-speed rail project without credible sources of adequate funding represents a financial risk to California.
So why did they approve it, if this panel set up to safeguard the state's interest said "no"?

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Old 07-07-2012, 10:21 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Based on the replies so far, it sounds like a bad idea. So what's wrong with criticism of the people who approved it, and those who voted them into office? And criticizing a politician isn't automatically a sign of 'political bias'. CA in particular is not in a position to throw money down rabbit holes.

-ERD50
I voted against it in 2008. The discussion in this thread so far has not presented enough real evidence that it is a bad idea although my bias says it is a bad idea.

I'm just hoping for reasoned discussion instead of axe grinding. Go ahead, convince me. But I realize it's so much easier to say nasty things about the opposition. To be fair, I do it all the time with DW while watching the news. Like, "oh boy there they go again in Kansas, or Illinois, or Florida, or Greece, or ... whatever"

P.S. I hope you do not feel bad if I left out your state.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:27 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by ziggy29 View Post
And you have to watch them for follow through. I was still living in San Jose when Santa Clara County approved an extension of a half-cent local sales tax over 20 years to extend BART to San Jose. The vote was 70-30 in favor of the tax, more than the 2/3 required by Prop 13 for a targeted tax increase.

But the economy went south in the 2000 dot-com bust and officials said they couldn't afford the BART extension project with the revised revenue projections. The voter-approved tax, specifically targeted for that project, did not disappear (of course). So the voters still get their tax and more than a dozen years later, BART to San Jose is just a dream for many.
As mentioned before, seems like every election cycle the talk of high-speed rail comes up. The first time I was excited thinking in a few years, travel from major cities would be shortened. Plus, the thought of riding on a high speed rail sounded fun. But now, many years later, my view is may high speed rail may still be a good idea if it ever comes true, but I'll believe it when I see it.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:31 AM   #13
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The first segment runs from Madera to Bakersfield? Seems silly. If the money runs out after the first segment, we have a line that goes from almost nowhere to almost nowhere. The main idea has to be to connect LA, Sacramento and the Bay Area population centers, and the first segment reaches none of those. Of course, this will be the cheapest segment by far with no mountains to work around, lots of open space and fairly cheap land (by CA standards).
My thoughts exactly. I am just afraid that this will become "the train to nowhere". I think this is a good idea on paper, but looking at the magnitude of the project just here is San Francisco makes me doubt it will ever be completed.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal
I voted against it in 2008. The discussion in this thread so far has not presented enough real evidence that it is a bad idea although my bias says it is a bad idea.

I'm just hoping for reasoned discussion instead of axe grinding. Go ahead, convince me. But I realize it's so much easier to say nasty things about the opposition. To be fair, I do it all the time with DW while watching the news. Like, "oh boy there they go again in Kansas, or Illinois, or Florida, or Greece, or ... whatever"

P.S. I hope you do not feel bad if I left out your state.
Although I don't have a dog in this hunt, but I enjoy reading about it. In my state of MO, we barely want to subsidize gas for city busses so a high speed rail of $68b would be out of our league. If what I read to be true, Gov. Brown has the belief of " build it and they will come". That can be a dangerous strategy with $68 billion at stake, and the usual " cost overruns " have to be thought about too.
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Old 07-07-2012, 10:47 AM   #15
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I am not sure of the various travel options out there.... but I know that they have been trying to get high speed rail in a triangle from Houston to Dallas to Austin....

But, as they have shown a good number of times, there are a LOT of flights you can take to get there... and we are supporting the airline industry with a lot of support...

If the only good way to get from A to B is by car, then the local politicians will want to build something....


As for AMTRACK.... from what I remember, they do make good money up north between the major cities of Boston, New York, Washington DC.... but I only read that awhile ago, so who knows for sure now....
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:09 AM   #16
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I am not sure of the various travel options out there.... but I know that they have been trying to get high speed rail in a triangle from Houston to Dallas to Austin....

But, as they have shown a good number of times, there are a LOT of flights you can take to get there... and we are supporting the airline industry with a lot of support...

If the only good way to get from A to B is by car, then the local politicians will want to build something....

As for AMTRACK.... from what I remember, they do make good money up north between the major cities of Boston, New York, Washington DC.... but I only read that awhile ago, so who knows for sure now....
I watched a program that mentioned Amtrak and you are correct one makes money up their and another only loses about 5 bucks per person. However the one from New Orleans to LA loses $400 per person and Chicago to SF loses $190 pp. The further you spread it out and the less dense the population, the more the cost. I certainly wouldn't know if any of the Amtrak data would relate at all to the CA project. But I certainly would hate to be on the hook for any subsidies.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:38 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by JOHNNIE36 View Post
California has approved the initial sale of bonds in the amount of $4.5B to start a high speed rail project. They now will get another $3.2B from the fed for this project. It will build the first segment from Madera to Bakersfield and will end with the total rail line from L.A. to Sacremento. Total cost $68B. Would you buy these bonds?
I don't think anyone has answered your question, Johnnie .

Do you think there would be a possibility of default on the bonds?
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:41 AM   #18
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And I thought this was about high speed rail from LA to Vegas
No, that was Hunter Thompson in the Red Shark or the White Whale.
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Old 07-07-2012, 11:58 AM   #19
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And I thought this was about high speed rail from LA to Vegas
THOSE bonds I would buy!
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Old 07-07-2012, 12:02 PM   #20
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I have w*rked in the rail trasnport business 15 years, -using the term business very loosely.

My observation and prediction:

1 California is broke
2 Whatever numbers are projected for cost, are smokescreen, they will be a factor of 4 or more greater by the time all is said and done.
3 It will never pay for the operating costs, let alone the initial investment.
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