Friday, September 11, 2009

US Senate HSR Vote To Come Today?

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

Back in July the US House of Representatives approved $4 billion for HSR for FY 2010 - that's in addition to the $8 billion in the February stimulus. And as I reported a few days later, a Senate panel cut that number to just $1.2 billion.

The Midwest HSR Association, which has been impressively upping its activist game this year, believes that a final, full Senate vote could come as soon as today. They have put together an action page allowing you to email your Senators to support matching the full $4 billion appropriated in the House.

This would be a perfect opportunity for Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to step up and show leadership for California high speed rail by ensuring there's as much federal money available as possible.

And it's especially important that we get this money this year, as it looks a transportation bill may not happen this year. That bill is where a true commitment to long-term funding for HSR can emerge. Already the right-wingers are launching a broad campaign to try and gut HSR funding. Our activism is important to ensure they don't succeed.


Anonymous said...

meanwhile continued rail successes right here even in the recession.

Anonymous said...

"This is exactly what I predicted would happen last week."

Robert - good job. We continue to be amazed and pleased that you have such a good bead on the inside matters at the authority - or- maybe you're just a gifted psychic. Either way, this is why we read your blog - you're well informed, and like to share.

So, it would be awseome if you could give us your take on the status of the lawsuit now; What is the plaintiff asking for? what is the authority objecting to? when will we see the details in print? When is the judge expected to hear these issues and make a decision

resident said...

I'd think HSR supporters would themselves be asking for accountability FIRST, on the HSR stimulus funds - I'd be interested to see how they're spending the money first. Are they calling it high speed rail money, and diverting it to low value, non-HSR projects? Or is it really going to good use?

Why is this important? isn't more just always better? - Because evetnually the well will dry up, politicians and their constituents have a short attention span, and a year or two from now they'll be saying 'tell us again, where did all that money go?' All that money we could have spent on healthcare, education, mass transit, energy... Everyone's going to be looking around for tangible evidence of high speed rail - woops, what they'll see are things like San Bruno.

Point here that HSR proponents, more than any others ought be looking for accountability, and visibility - they ought to be the most protective of all of HSR's funds, and the long term view of HSR's reputation.

Feeding the politicians and consulting firms who haven't yet proven themselves worthy keepers of HSR investment, MORE billions, now?

I'd frankly be worried about putting all the eggs in one basket.

無名 - wu ming said...

@jim - i'll bet a whole lot of those bikes are from the davis stop. the parking's so bad there, it makes a lot more sense to ride to the train anyways.

Anonymous said...

yes davis is like china with the bikes.

Anonymous said...

The agenda and list of speakers is up for the Palo Alto Teach-In.

I'm sure you'll all have comments about who is speaking and who will be there...

Anonymous said...

or is it amsterdam? whichever... that's where they're coming from.

and in socal, its surfboards.

Robert said...

Thanks for the head's up, Robert. An opportunity for duffers like me to exercise a little activism. BTW you sounded great on NPR.

local said...

Did that vote happen? I couldn't find anything.

I assume everyonewent the to Palo Alto teach in - anything interesting, or more of the same?

Morris Brown said...

I'm sure Robert will report his take on the "teach-in", but let me say this.

I was quite frankly a bit shocked to hear Bob Doty, the top guy on HSR for CalTrain come out and say:

"San Mateo Co. got screwed with the Bart to the Airport project ... which has been a disaster".

The project has Kopp's signature all over it; Kopp continues to assert it is fine, although slow to reach potential.

Although posters here continue to write, there will be no new EIR required and therefore no delay on the Bay Area to Merced segment, Gary Patton asserted otherwise; there was no push back from anyone of the Authority or CalTrain on that point.

I believe the event will be available as a webcast; it will be telecast in the local area next week.

Rich Tolmach pulled no punches, calling the whole operation a "scam".

I would hope that Robert would have something to say about Gary Patton's keynote. I am quite certain he doesn't agree with Patton's postion on the project, but I would certainly hope he would have kind words to say about Patton's approach on how voters should interact with their government, and how government should work. Patton's keynote address was really a beacon of light shining out over the whole meeting.

About 200 attended.

Anonymous said...

I really don't see how san mateo county got screwed by bart. It so happens that first of all, san mateo had bart service to the county for 20 years without ever having to pay a dime for it. Then, they get an extention that gives them 5 additional stations, more than any other existing part of the system ( the counties that have been paying for 30+ years) have ever gotten.

And still they find something to complain about. Is San Mateo county where old crotchety whiners go to die or what? In my opinion they shouldn't have go those stations on the airport line before alameda contra costa and san francisco got addition stations.

Anonymous said...

Because the ridership came nowhere close to projections and the costs way over, San Mateo was forced to use its entire public transit budget for Bart. This absolutely gutted bus service. By all accounts, the public transit system is now WORSE than before the Bart project.

In addition, all Peninsula riders south of the airport used to have decent connectivity to the airport via Caltrain. Now they have this:

Anonymous said...

did they not tell you the plan and route before they built it and before you voted on it?

Anonymous said...

Palmdale-Tehachapis is BART-to-SFO redux. And throw in BART broad gauge for good measure as a shining example of "experts" gone wild.

Watch-dog said...

Speaking of Kopp - let's look at the Devil's slide example that Gary Patton sighted yesterday at the Teach-In.

Kopp was completely opposed to a tunnel for Devil's slide. You want evidence? Here's a letter to a young environmental activist (who is currently Palo Alto's mayor). Note the scathing Kopp tone:

Long story short - this fight goes to a ballot measure and Measure T wins. The people want a tunnel.

Kopp ends up doing a complete turn around:

What happened - it was uncovered that the cost of the tunnel was artificially inflated

see Facts on Measure T

Research the Berkeley tunnel and you'll find that the same thing happened - cost estimates for the tunnel were wildly inflated.

Anonymous said...

sounds to me like there's just a lot dilike for a personality and its being used as an excuse to stop hsr.

I doubt the feeling is widespread though as most people don't follow or care about such things.

Anonymous said...

I mean really who can hold a grudge that long anyway?

Sam said...

did they not tell you the plan and route before they built it and before you voted on it?

Jim, the "plan" changed considerably after ridership was a fraction of what estimates were. BART was supposed to have service every fifteen minutes from Millbrae to SFO. After ridership was shown to be so low and the unions asserted and won the case that this two minute ride was a "separate line," service had to be suspended because it was so expensive. That absolutely was NOT what the voters voted for.

BART to SFO was and is the worst disaster in Bay Area transit history. (until the Central Subway is completed, of course, as it will have similar effects to existing transit in SF, just as BART had devastating effects to the rest of San Mateo transit)

watch-dog said...

It's not a grudge - it is a lesson

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Our responsibility as Californians is to make sure they aren't spending our dollars for their own political gains.

Anonymous said...

Well I find the bart sfo extension to be very useful and I also fully support the central subway as that will also solve a major sticking point in my muni service.
I guess everything can't work for everybody.
I reallly think its more a matter of people being mad cuz things didn't get their way.

Me, I'm happy with it all. bart sfo, central subway, the present and I think perfect, route for hsr, etc.

Anonymous said...

and service to sfo - bart to sfo was clearly designed based on future extension south that would bring people up from the south bay and peninsula and feed directly into the terminal just like I have direct front door to ticket counter service. I guess it was or is up to the cities and counties to get the southern extension built. I know that Menlo Park at one time expressed they wanted a bart station.

The best thing to do would be to vote on bart to continue south to foster city (airline employees) then up to the 280 corridor to serve those places that aren't served by caltrain. everything from cupertino/sunnyvale through los altos upper PA and upper RWC.

with that, all of the peninsula will get direct sfo service as originally planned.

DBX said...

Let's look at political reality for a moment; there's a legitimate reason for San Mateo to doubt people on account of BART's handling of the SFO link. BART made a very questionable decision in how they connected with Caltrain at the airport, forcing a very expensive Y in a project that was already headed over budget. The cost overrun, which would surely have been less without the Y, forced San Mateo to gut their bus service to pay for it. Then BART cut way back on connecting services and eliminated the direct rail connection with Caltrain at Millbrae altogether for airport trains. Understandably, some people in San Mateo are PO'd.

The political challenge is to prevent high-speed rail from being "tarred with the BART brush", so to speak, and what better solution could there be than fixing the infrastructure so that this horribly awkward gap is bridged.

Anonymous said...

Opposition growing down south.

Anonymous said...

The news media gives WAY to much airtime to Nimby loud mouths...45 years ago these type of people would be booed loudly..and maby have a "night time" visit..we need to go back

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 2:18

Are you suggesting another Kristallnacht or some other form of thuggery to keep people in line?

Really, you lot expose yourselves.

Spokker said...

"Are you suggesting another Kristallnacht or some other form of thuggery to keep people in line?"

Quick, hide Morris in the attic!

Brandi said...

Apparently the Senate did not match the House in their support for high speed rail. They did in fact cut it but i'm not sure by how much. Check out the article below.