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March 13, 2020



To my point about how to better spend HSR money: From today's DJ

Caltrain is also adjusting service after seeing significantly low ridership since efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus began. Morning and afternoon peak hour service will no longer feature Baby Bullet service. Local and limited service will continue to operate as scheduled, as will off-peak service, including midday and weekend service.

One-way and Day Pass ticket sales have declined by approximately 75% from their levels two weeks ago. Caltrain is assessing the impact reduced ridership will have on its ability to maintain operations in the coming months.



The Adam Corolla Show podcast, 19 March 2020: Part 1 minute 57--excellent commentary on HSR.


After hearing from the NorCal regional director for HSR yesterday during a presentation on the latest Business Plan, you will be pleased to learn that the construction in the Central Valley is considered an "essential service" exempt from the shelter-in-place restrictions in effect in California.


Here is news out of Sacramento today:

Lenny Mendonca, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s top business adviser and chairman of the High-Speed Rail Authority, is leaving the administration to focus on his family and personal business.

Newsom’s office announced the departure Friday night. In a statement, Newsom praised Mendonca for launching an initiative aimed at improving the economic fortunes of the state’s inland counties and kicking off Newsom’s Future of Work Commission.

Mendonca, a former senior partner at the consulting powerhouse McKinsey & Company, has long been a go-to adviser for Newsom.


To often the term "leaving __________________
to focus my Family and personal business" "Rings Hollow."
I am not saying this is the case for Mr. Mendosa. He has been a great advocate for Governor Newsome.
However, 3/5's of the time, leaving _________, for "family and business" applies only to Government Employees and Official's.


The LA Times remains on the case reporting on various possible effects of the last election:

Even under a friendly Biden White House, California would need to signal a stronger commitment to fund the project and resolve many thorny issues it has avoided, such as a plan to subsidize the service in violation of state law, experts say.

And ultimately, the state needs to come up with a credible plan to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco, not just build an isolated starter system in the Central Valley, as it is now doing.

As for more money, Kelly said there is the possibility of “public help” and private participation down the road. “We are at the end of a tough beginning,” he said about the project’s status.

Advocates for bullet trains have bigger dreams. The U.S. High Speed Rail Assn., based in Washington, wants $360 billion for bullet train projects across the nation, including $60 billion for the California system.

The American Society of Civil Engineers — founded in 1862 — wants the federal government to focus on decay in existing highways, bridges, rail systems, tunnels, dams, sewers, airports and other essential civil works. The organization notes that more than 40% of buses and 25% of rail transit hardware are in marginal or poor condition.

“Prospects for some financial participation by the federal government are better than they were, but it is easy to overestimate them,” said Martin Wachs, an emeritus professor at UCLA who is an expert in transportation. “There could be a few billion dollars, but it would not eliminate the need for the state to put the project on a sound financial footing.”
There is a lot more detail here:



From KTLA:

A letter from a major contractor blames the state for delays in building California’s bullet train, contradicting claims that the line’s construction pace is on target and warning the project could miss a key 2022 federal deadline, according to a newspaper report Tuesday.

The 36-page letter obtained by the Los Angeles Times alleges the high-speed rail project faces problems including continuing delays in obtaining land for the line and the state’s failure to finalize deals with outside parties such as utilities and freight railroads.

As of mid-November, construction crews could not build on more than 500 parcels in the Fresno area because the California High Speed Rail Authority still lacks proper documentation, according to the Jan. 4 letter. The company has completed all the work that could be done efficiently and as a result is now operating at other sites at a slower pace, the Times reported.

“It is beyond comprehension that as of this day, more than two thousand and six hundred calendar days after (official approval to start construction) that the authority has not obtained all of the right of way … ” wrote Tutor Perini Vice President of Operations Ghassan Ariqat to Garth Fernandez, the contracting chief at the state rail authority.



Recall Governor Newsom

Mary Griffith

This project has been and always will be nothing but a Boondoggle. A complete waste of tax payers heard earned dollars. The project needs to be ended. We need a politician who can call this project what it is and defund it. NOW MR. Newsom!

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