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January 31, 2017



Here is an update from a local advocacy group that highlights what I meant when I wrote "think (hope?) all is well elsewhere".


CC-HSR has gone back to court, to prevent the California High-Speed Rail Authority from misusing Proposition 1A Bond Funds. The complaint was filed by CC-HSR, the Town of Atherton, and other plaintiffs.

PLEASE NOTE: One of those "other" Plaintiffs is former California State Senator Quentin Kopp, the person who probably most deserves the title of "father" of the California High-Speed Rail project. After his Senate service, Quentin Kopp became a Superior Court Judge. He also served, for a time, as the Chair of the High-Speed Rail Authority. The fact that Judge Kopp has joined this legal challenge highlights the unconstitutionality of what the Authority is proposing. Even Judge Kopp, who wanted a good high-speed rail project, won't stand still for what the Authority is trying to do!

Proposition 1A was passed by California voters in November 2008. The Bond Act allocates about $9 billion to advance high-speed rail in California, but this bond measure (largely drafted under the oversight of then-Senator Quentin Kopp) contained lots of protections for the taxpayers. For one thing, the funds are legally restricted, and can only go to a project that will create a segment of the overall statewide system that will be "suitable and ready" for high-speed rail service. Furthermore, according to the Bond Act, no bond funds can be used for any project that will require an operating subsidy.

Christopher Cooke

Quentin Kopp is mad that the current HSR plans contemplate using an electrified CalTrain on the Peninsula in lieu of separate tracks for HSR. He is not an ally anyone opposed to HSR through the Peninsula should trust very much.

I doubt this legal challenge is going anywhere.


This is certainly an easier, more expedient way to go:


Bruce Dickinson

Gov Moonbeam must have read the "Art of the Deal" and taken copious notes. His harangue laying into Donald Trump at that press conference pretty much kissed his HSR baby bye-bye.

On the other hand, maybe he was smart enough to want this thing killed while saving face and embarrassment!

In all likelihood, Gov Brown probably isn't that smart.


Here is another clip from a local advocacy group that makes the point that while HSR may finagle funding for Caltrain electification, the same HSR will severely limit Caltrain's ability to add service over time---too many trains on one track:
First, costs have spiraled totally out of control, and the project is massively behind schedule, as the Authority has vacillated on project design (first going North, then going South, now going North again, from its start in the Central Valley). Second, new federal funding is probably not on the way to bail out the Authority. Third, not only is new funding unlikely, the federal government may well require the state to make the long overdue "matching fund" payments (totaling about $2 billion owing to the federal government) that should already have been paid, but that were deferred by the previous Administration.

In view of these financial challenges, how is the Authority trying to keep that zombie project going? Here's how. The Authority is hoping that the federal government will provide funding for HSR through a grant that seems to be for a positive project with political support; namely, the Caltrain "modernization" project. Caltrain is the official project applicant, but a grant award to Caltrain will mean high-speed rail on the Peninsula, and an actual reduction in the ability of Caltrain to provide expanded rail commuter service in the future.



Handle Bard

Here is the laughable bit about the article

Going electric would also allow the Peninsula line to be the final link in the high-speed rail system that Gov. Jerry Brown wants to stretch from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The Obama administration embraced the idea, but California Republicans have long portrayed it as a boondoggle and sought to kill it.
In a Jan. 24 letter to Chao, all 14 Republicans in the state’s congressional delegation called for the Caltrain money to be put on hold until a full audit is done on high-speed rail. On Friday, Chao obliged — the Federal Transit Administration, which she oversees, said a decision on the $647 million federal grant needed to keep the project going would be delayed.

The "final link"???????????????????? Ha. Caltrain is not the final link. It's not even the almost final link. This hound dog won't hunt into LA for decades. Nobody wants faster, better Caltrain than me. I use it every day to bike and ride to work. But do not confuse electrifying Caltrain or going to the newer modern diesel with high-speed rail. Caltrain needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to do this on their own.

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