Friday, August 8, 2008

ACTION: Tell Arnold to Sign AB 3034

NOTE: We've moved! Visit us at the California High Speed Rail Blog.

We have until Monday to convince Arnold to drop his childish refusal to sign new bills and put his name to AB 3034. Contact Arnold and tell him to sign AB 3034:

Phone: 916-445-2841

UPDATE CalPIRG has a handy dandy form to use to contact Arnold about this.

Rafael also suggests we contact our Assemblymembers to ensure they act swiftly on this on Monday.

There's your weekend homework, folks. Get to it!


Anonymous said...

I can't believe something so long in the making could come down to such a minor, completely unrelated thing!

I don't know what good a few emails will do, but I send along my feedback anyways.

Rafael said...

Normally, Schwarzenegger's signature on AB3034 - or the lack of it - would be irrelevant.

The only reason the Governor has any leverage at all in the matter is that the state constitution gives him a couple of weeks to make up his mind, i.e. until well after the deadline to amend ballot propositions has passed. Running out the clock is known as an implicit or pocket veto.

# Governor's action. Within 12 days after receiving a bill, the governor may sign it into law, allow it to become law without his/her signature, or veto it.

# Overrides. A vetoed bill is returned to the house of origin, where a vote may be taken to override the governor's veto; a two-thirds vote of both houses is required to override a veto.

In practice, I seriously doubt Arnold will allow AB3034 to simply lapse if supermajorities in both the Assembly and the Senate approve a final version by Monday. He'll figure out some pretext to "make an exception" so voters can have their say. After all, the HSR bond will have virtually no effect on state finances in 2009.

Therefore, the person you should be contacting is your representative in the Assembly. He or she should accept the version passed by the Senate without further modifications.

Rubber Toe said...

There is a very easy way to do this via a web based form right here:

Other Robert

Anonymous said...

rafael - In principle, couldn't he also immediately veto the bill, and then the legislators could vote to override the veto? This would technically allow him to keep his word while still letting AB 3034 become law. The problem is that I doubt there would be time for this kind of back-and-forth (even if we assume it's all rehearsed).

Unknown said...

What if a veto goes back to the assembly and some republicans change their vote to a NO and its fails the override? That would be ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

The lawsuit against the EIR/EIS has been filed.
We have posted a copy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting link.

My reading of AB3034 is that it effectively prevents bond monies from going towards an Altamont alignment since it was not one of the HSR routes identified. It even goes so far as to require direct (i.e. non-transfer) service between the termini -- which is not only idiotic from an operational standpoint, but apparently was an attempt to deflect the biggest problem in the EIR.

Rafael said...

@ bikerider -

I beg to differ. The relevant section of the most recent published version of AB3034 reads as follows:


(2) As adopted by the authority in May 2007, Phase 1 of the
high-speed train project is the corridor of the high-speed train
system between San Francisco Transbay Terminal and Los Angeles Union
Station and Anaheim.
(3) Upon a finding by the authority that expenditure of bond
proceeds for capital costs in corridors other than the corridor
described in paragraph (2) would advance the construction of the
system, would be consistent with the criteria described in
subdivision (f) of Section 2704.08, and would not have an adverse
impact on the construction of Phase 1 of the high-speed train
project, the authority may request funding for capital costs, and the
Legislature may appropriate funds described in paragraph (1) in the
annual Budget Act, to be expended for any of the following high-speed
train corridors:
(A) Sacramento to Stockton to Fresno.
(B) San Francisco Transbay Terminal to San Jose to Fresno.
(C) Oakland to San Jose.
(D) Fresno to Bakersfield to Palmdale to Los Angeles Union
(E) Los Angeles Union Station to Riverside to San Diego.
(F) Los Angeles Union Station to Anaheim to Irvine.
(G) Merced to Stockton to Oakland and San Francisco via the
Altamont Corridor.
(4) Nothing in this section shall prejudice the authority's
determination and selection of the alignment from the Central Valley
to the San Francisco Bay Area and its certification of the
environmental impact report.


The bill does not preclude redefining the spine of the network to run via the Altamont corridor, as long as its a single route that includes both San Francisco and San Jose. In practice, only variation #9 (or something very similar) would meet that requirement and still cross the Altamont Pass.

The bill also still explicitly allows for money to be spent on what CHSRA calls the "HST overlay", identified as corridor G.

However, unless someone forces CHSRA's hand, it seems very unlikely that any high speed tracks will be constructed in this corridor anytime soon.

Anonymous said...

And who is paying for this lawsuit?

Anonymous said...

Here is the relevant section of AB3034:

2704.09. The high-speed train system to be constructed pursuant
to this chapter shall be designed to achieve the following
(a) Electric trains that are capable of sustained maximum revenue
operating speeds of no less than 200 miles per hour.
(b) Maximum nonstop service travel times for each corridor that
shall not exceed the following:
(1) San Francisco-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40
(2) Oakland-Los Angeles Union Station: two hours, 40 minutes.
(3) San Francisco-San Jose: 30 minutes.
(4) San Jose-Los Angeles: two hours, 10 minutes.
(5) San Diego-Los Angeles: one hour, 20 minutes.
(6) Inland Empire-Los Angeles: 30 minutes.
(7) Sacramento-Los Angeles: two hours, 20 minutes.

Note how there is no mention of Sacramento-SF in the requirements (even though other Phase 2 projects like San Diego and Oakland are listed). Is this an oversight, or deliberate?

It is always a bad idea to rush through poorly conceived bills. The so-called fiscal "controls" is just a non-binding, self-selected advisory committee. Those kinds of committees never work -- the Bay Bridge "Technical Committee" wound up picking a bridge design $5 billion more expensive than other logical alternatives.

Spokker said...

"It is always a bad idea to rush through poorly conceived bills."

Even the mighty, glorious Ashburn voted for it. If it's good enough for that handsome man then it's good enough for me!

Anonymous said...

Hey Robert:

In case your haven't noticed the price of gasoline is declining.

Maybe California doesn't need HIgh Speed Rail to save California after all.

Spokker said...

"In case your haven't noticed the price of gasoline is declining."

Time to buy a Hummer.

Rafael said...

@ anon @ 4:09am -

do you always base decisions that will impact the next two generations on what's been happening in the past 30 days? Talk about myopia.

You might want to check out the weekly, monthly and annual average gasoline prices in California.

Prices at the pump will fluctuate by as much as 30% in any given year, due to a combination of gyrating oil markets, seasonal changes in demand and the fact that California has fuel standards so stringent only a relatively small number of local refineries are set up to meet them. Combined with fuel taxes that are low compared to Japan and Europe, that generates a lot of price volatility.

Average over 12 months at a time and you'll see that the per-gallon price has gone up by roughly 30 cents every year since 2002. Regular as clockwork. The relative rate of increase is slowing, but it's still much higher than general inflation. What's more, there is no obvious reason to believe this will change anytime soon.

Spokker said...

Hey, if you don't mind, how are you guys going to vote on the other propositions? It'd be interesting to see if prop 1 supporters have similar views on the other ballot measures.

Here's how my vote is probably going to look.

prop 1 - yes

prop 2 - no

prop 3 - no

prop 4 - no

prop 5 - no

prop 6 - no

prop 7 - no

prop 8 - no

prop 9 - no

prop 10 - no

prop 11 - no

prop 12 - no

Anyone else?

(I'm kidding.)

Brandon in California said...

At this time, my off-the-cuff knowledge only extends to Prop 1 & 8.

Speaking of which, I live near the 'alternative' neighborhood of Hillcrest in San Diego. I just returned from getting my daily coffee at Peets, which is in Hillcrest, and happened upon an annual street fair.

It is HUGE... probably 30k to 50k people. And, lots of "No on Prop 8" t-shirts and signature gathering.

Initially, I thought they were registering peeps to vote... but no, it was signature gathering effort to gain info on where the proposition stands.

Didn't make sense to me for a couple reasons.... 1) everyone there was gay-friendly and very likely already had a 'no' position on 1. So, it was a biased 'survey' if that was the intent. 2) The October-November election season is 2 months away.... it's a bit too late to gather info on where people stand in order to guide/influence a marketing campaign.

And after thinking about it a bit more... I am thinking that the real intent is to give some arm-chair political activist something to do... give them a t-shirt and clip board and let them feel like they are contributing.

I signed the petition, or whatever it was really.... despite the possibility of getting on a mailing list, which I hate. So, I helped them out....

...and at the same time discussed Proposition 1.

So, they got my signature and promise to vote down Prop 8 while I got at least one vote for Prop 1.

Prop 1 - Yes
Prop 8 - No

Brandon in California said...

I am concerned Schwarzenegger will use AB 3034 as an example and not sign it...

... citing that the legislature is not acting with urgency on the State budget and ...

... instead is sending the wrong message to California citizens and state employees (yes, them) that the State has a 'spending' problem with Prop 1 and the timing of AB 3034 as case-in-point example.

The meaning to the population is "why is the legislature acting on THIS, a spending bill and new program, when they should be focused on the budget?"

Each of the arguments to de-link the two will be lost on the average Joe Voter.

I don't know if this will happen, but the possibility seems to have merit.

And, I think the politcal consequence to Arnold if he does sign a bill coming before a budget is passed, especially this, is too great for him ignore.

In fact, he may have set up this conflict from the beginning, by stating his claim to not sign any bills coming before him until a budget is passed, anticpated AB 3034 as a possibility.

Anonymous said...


Well Robert has been claiming the State won't survive unless Prop 1 or(a) passed, because there won't be any gas or because we can now see that the price of gas is always going to be unfordable on the high side.

His perspective no more outrageous than mine. In point of fact, the price of gas will probably mirror strength of dollar and market conditions. Pretty amazing that if you have to pay more for gas, you use less.

He would really have autos banned and certainly wants no expansion of the highway system.

I object strongly to his views. The project should be judged by what is supposed to do for transporting passengers. The project ignores Sacramento and Oakland, in favor of Gilroy!

Diridon wants a monument to himself in the bilevel $2 billion dollar Diridon station in San Jose.

Nuts. No on Prop1 and / or Prop 1a.

Robert Cruickshank said...

Banning autos? I think not. No, anon, the problem is that we foolishly decided to rely on autos alone for our commuting and mass transportation needs in California. That was a stupid move and we're feeling the effects. I *love* driving - I was just out in Carmel Valley today in my car - but driving should be for pleasure and occasional hauling trips. There's no good reason why driving should be the main method we get to work or get around our state.

As to gas prices, that's the subject of tonight's post, as I was expecting you or someone like you would make the point you just made.

Spokker said...

"The project ignores Sacramento and Oakland, in favor of Gilroy!"

I don't care about Gilroy but it's not even a major stop and express trains will pass it. I wouldn't be surprised if trains on limited runs don't stop there.

"Diridon wants a monument to himself in the bilevel $2 billion dollar Diridon station in San Jose."

Oh no, train stations are named after political figures that helped them to get built! Someone call 20/20.

Would it give you a heart attack if I said that a station on the Los Angeles red line is named after Tom Bradly and another after Julian Dixon? Oh the horror.

Tony D. said...

The HSR project INITIALLY ignores Sacramento and Oakland; and rightfully serves San Jose (Northern California's largest city) and San Francisco (Northern California's second largest city) on the initial main line. A $2 billion dollar Diridon Station in downtown San Jose? YEAH BABY!! Robert, proposed VTA 1/8 sales tax measure for BART to SJ will cost an average of $36 per year...$3 per month for SC County taxpayers!! Looks like BART to SJ could happen after all. Lastly, I haven't read anything in the mainstream media (ie SJ Mercury News) about this stupid lawsuit of Morris Brown''s miniscule and not worth wasting fine newsprint to write about, so no need to worry about it. Go Prop. 1 and HSR!

Rubber Toe said...

Interestingly, we could find a situation where the Governor might find himself actively campaigning against the HSR bond issue because it doesn't have the specific changes that he wanted in it, while the reason the changes aren't in the proposition is because he vetoed the bill passed to put the changes in.

This is along the lines of the kind of things that will face the HSR project all along the way. This one is most notable for the ironies stated above, but future problems will no dount be more along the normal lines of NIMBYism and cost.

The LA County sales tax might suffer a similar fate. The legislature needs to pass a law to allow for the sales tax to go on the ballot, presumably Arnold will be vetoing this one too. The other pitfall is the multitude of local politicians who are threatening to torpedo the entire $30-$40 billion dollar plan because their pet project isn't on the "build list". The thinking here being that if they don't get their way, they might as well ruin it for everyone else too.

When you are talking about such huge amounts of money, the kookiness that will eventually take place has essentially no bounds as the above examples show.

Other Robert

BTW, my e-mail to the governor (the corrected spelling of governot, which may have been more appropriate considering) was bounced back because "Unable to deliver message to the following recipients, due to being unable to connect successfully to the destination mail server"

Robert Cruickshank said...

CALPIRG noted a similar problem with emails to the governor's office - apparently it has now been corrected.

You can always call - 916-445-2841.