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May 22, 2015

Comments

J

I saw Jerry Hill at the Hillsborough Memorial Day event--where does he stand on HSR?

Bruce Dickinson

Folks, Bruce Dickinson must laugh, yes chuckle about how getting excited about Chinese made bullet trains is really gonna help the HSR cause. This just highlights the fact that the HSR employees, lobbyists and insiders only get paid for for the duration of one thing: this project’s completion.

Why do I say this? Let Dr. Dickinson explain. Yes, you may save a few bucks on financing and cheap trains that are “hard to beat” but let me ask the simple caveman question: Do you think the public would be more comfortable safety wise riding a German manufactured train or a Chinese one? Also, if an accident happens, do you think the public would still ride HSR if they still used the same trains after the hypothetical accident (continue to use the same German trains or the same Chinese trains). I would say that people are in general less likely to believe in the safety of Chinese products (real OR perceived) compared to European products. So, if fewer ride HSR due to the public knowing they are Chinese trains, what does that do for ridership and overall revenue statistics? Yes you saved a few bucks on the trains but turned the whole thing into a bigger money pit with fewer riders, potentially on the order of tens of billions of dollars over the decades in hemorrhaging losses. This goes to show you these HSR/lobbyist guys just want the Chinese trains to make the project more palatable budget wise so they can get paid longer for something that is barely viable.

Bruce Dickinson offers the following prescription: All of those who get paid because of HSR should get a) a 100% of their pay as a bonus for ridership statistics that are 10% or more above projections once the train is built, b) get 50% of their pay clawed back (they would owe money back to CA voters) if ridership statistics fall more than 10% below projections. Assuming an equal chance for either happening, at plus or minus 10% ridership vs projections, a rational person who thought it was equally probable to be up or down by more than 10% would still want to go forward with HSR. If he gets paid 100k per year, if ridership is above 10%, he gets 200k total, or if is below 10%, gets only 50k. If he believes it’s 50/50 chance of overshooting or undershooting, his expected value is $125k. Now if you forced this pay scheme onto HSR employees, I bet most would end up leaving, because they probably don’t believe their ridership statistics. If however, they did believe their statistics and had a chance for doubling their pay if ridership surprised modestly to the upside, they would think long and hard about getting ridership up and could be their own golden goose. And Bruce Dickinson bets that having the best trains to entice the most ridership would be part of that equation and those trains would not be from China.

Sadly, we all know that by even considering Chinese made trains, they DON’T CARE about how ridership fares after the project gets built. You put some real incentives (or a carrot and a stick, if you will) in their pay structure and I think you’d see very different outcomes, including one where HSR may end up dismantling their own project as if their ridership projections are phony-baloney, and they know they’ll owe money to all of us, they will find new jobs and this thing will die faster than Milli Vanilli’s career once it was revealed they were faking it.

Just a little dose of some neuron firing by your community philosopher, Bruce Dickinson.

Whatever goes

Unfortunately Jerry Hill has his eyes set ever higher so he has to kowtow to the Other Jerry and the unions. He will straddle the railroad track better than an Olympic gymnast on the balance beam while the voters and taxpayers feel the beam dig into you know what.

J

Perhaps imminent domain along the peninsula will prove so financially burdensome that it will stop at San Jose? Is there any hope this leviathan will be crushed and California can build something it truly needs; desalination plants!

Jennifer

Southern California rises up against the High-Speed Rail Project
by Kathy Hamilton, for the SF Examiner
(excerpts)

Crowds descended upon the High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting held in Los Angeles on June 9th. Literally 100’s of people arrived on buses. Many took off from work to make public comment about the Palmdale to Burbank segment and the four possible design routes being studied.

The board meeting lasted 8 hours with public comment lasting nearly 3/4ths of the time. A common issue voiced over and over again was that the Authority would not listen to their concerns. They objected to how the Authority ran public outreach meetings. The Authority representatives would not answer questions the public had. Even this meeting was a one-way conversation, but this time it was the residents telling the Authority what their concerns were however the Authority did not offer answers. This is typical at public outreach meetings as well as typical at board meetings. The explanation given by the Authority was that they did not want to inhibit others from speaking and it was the public’s time to comment.

Some felt the project management was guilty of social injustice against minority and disadvantaged communities. It was echoed several speakers. It seems history shows the disadvantaged are targeted when it comes to public development. Some of the poorer communities stated they had been invaded by highway construction three times in the past.

Tippi Hedren, made famous by her role in Alfred Hitchcock’s, “The Birds, “ now dedicates her life caring for big cats and has established a preserve for them. She stated she was more afraid of the High-Speed Rail Authority board. She told them they do not listen to the concerns of the residents. Her comments: http://youtu.be/NnJw_VUH2Vo

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