Friday, February 9, 2018

My Comment in the ABC News (Fresno, L.A.) reporting (circa Feb. 1, 2018)  of Calif. State Senators' Patterson and Beall's successful request to the legislature to audit (again) the CHSRA boondoggle follows:

Actually, the mentioned $65-$68B cost is only the CHSRA (disinformation amount to confuse drive-by superficial news coverage) number used for HSR from Bakersfield to San Jose. 

As noted, the original 2008 Prop. 1A $40B amount was a complete voter's sucker fraud, as usual for most rail projects.

The previous $98B estimate was to LA (Lancaster) before the exponential cost of going *through* the Tehachapi's, now is up to an unknown huge amount.  The published $68B amount does *not* include SF Bay Area's deadly and capability limited SJ-to-SF Caltrain HSR "upgrade", nor the $2B-3B *estimated* tunneling to SF's new Transbay downtown skyscraper terminal. 
The monies for this horrible fraudulent HSR boondoggle could be better used for Ca's safety net needs for children, seniors, disabled, mentally ill, and education K-12, UC and CSU tuition reduction, etc etc. 

For transportation, finishing electrified, grade separated BART around the SF Bay is better spent, moves more people, with more frequency, safer, quieter, and zero cross-traffic congestion at no more than the $12B current HSR cost.  Future cost diversions to SoCal's Coaster and Metro systems could save lives and speed train and eliminated cross traffic congestion delays and pollution with more separated grade crossings.  

Improving and expanding CA's *real* mass (moves tens of millions daily) road transportation system and safety (where possible) is also a better use of tax/bond dollars than the limited number of HSR construction and operations workers, HSR riders, and very limited HSR destinations. 

Buyout of existing Toll Roads and toll lanes to stop exorbitant per mile fees for SOVs and other users that can exceed by well 20 times the average less-than $.05/mile CA state motor vehicle fees and taxes that the average car, truck motorist pays on non-toll roads is a better use of HSR funds.
Using diverted planned HSR funds to improve commerce, holiday, work/trade vehicles, buses, vans, passenger cars, heavy utility and trade corridors for cargo trucks, emergency vehicles, and all other of millions of unionized and non-union road users of all driving ages that would fund these.
Others suggest that wasting of well over $100B (some estimates of HSR from San Diego to Sacramento would actually exceed $300B) deprives many of vital and urgent "safety net" needy of critical, basic General Fund dollars.  The annual over $700 millions of dollars just for the current $12B in HSR bonds would longer pay only for their interest, not to mention the initial capital cost, operating cost, and 23% expected millions in tax cost from local train station high density TOD project development taxes.

All this waste, just because Jerry Brown says "I like trains" since he rode on one in his youth over 70 years ago and apparently never had enough of his toy train set growing up.  Incredible!

Road references are copied to my California-oriented "Freemotorist" blog.

Subscriber, member of American Highway Users Alliance and National Motorist Association Foundation, Silicon Valley Electric Vehicle Association, The Newspaper, Mass Transit magazines, and board member of the Silicon Valley Taxpayers Association, and other groups.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Caltrain electrification is a shame and shill for California's High Speed Rail wasteful boondoggle.  What's worse is that Caltrain/HSR continues to block completion of BART Around The Bay which will serve far more people as a true "Mass Transit" system than a long-since outdated, congesting, pollution-causing, dangerous street-level 55-70mph "unstoppable" million-pound trainset.

Local Democrat politicians and "leaders", such as Silicon Valley Leadership Group's public policy CEO, Democrat Carl Guardino and others perpetrated an untruthful story to Truimp's Washington D.C. Department of Transportation Director, Elaine Chao, that somehow Caltrain Electrification is a separate project from High-Speed Rail.

In fact, since 1995 they have been unified projects, as confirmed by CHSRA's Chairman Dan Richard and S.F. Mayor Ed Lee.  Indeed, when I joined the pro-Caltrain predecessor advocacy group on October 6, 1982, yes 1982, at a kickoff meeting at the behest of then County Supervisors Susanne Wilson and Rail Zealot-at -any-cost-to-taxpayers Rod Diridon, another advocate engaged me in a conversation about the then SP, later Caltrain, Peninsula Corridor being for high-speed rail such as exists in Japan (Tokyo - Osaka route).  Apparently, Diridon had become smitten with HSR upon a visit there.

It is a real shame that all Democrat-led San Jose and Peninsula cities (aka Silicon Valley) and voters allow themselves, to their detriment, to act as dumbbell "suburbs" to narcissistic San Francisco politicos who don't care about their lower Peninsulas residents and communities' well-being, safety, and quality-of-life.

The release of Facebook's $1M Dumbarton Corridor study plus urban planning's SPUR suggestion to extend Caltrain/HSR from SF to Oakland with a new tunnel under the Bay validates my long-time asserting that the cost to extend BART around the Bay the final 30 miles to Millbrae, which will tap every city that any resurrected Dumbarton rail project will "serve", will be the same or less than the ultimate Caltrain/HSR configuration--and serve and carry far more people ("masses"), employ more directly and indirectly, electrified, frequently, safer, and with the bonus of higher farebox recovery.

So, where do we go from here?  I suggest that our Central Valley HSR opponents, legislators, Congressmen, and federal DOT Director and staff demand that any future release of tax monies to Caltrain/HSR require an alternative analysis to study a few configurations of BART 30 miles from San Jose to Millbrae, replacing Caltrain/HSR tracks with BART's, plus one for the occasional freight train, to close the long-planned "loop" and thus create a two-way BART system to not only serve regular one-way commutes, but also provide reliable redundancy station access from the other direction in case of track, equipment, medical or protest shutdown obstructions.

Let our HSR opposing Congresspersons know about this!


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

SF Warriors Arena would be better served by BART Around the Bay than by keeping deadly, outdated Caltrain.

It is time to start planning to extend BART down the Peninsula to future Santa Clara station to complete the BART Around The Bay dual (two-way) loop to be able to collect and distribute riders to the new arena, University, downtowns, shopping (Hillsdale, Newpark, Stanford, Southland, SF Market-Union, etc) travel facility and other Bay Area venues with the most efficient, safer, frequent, Zero-congestion heavy rail system that has proven its worth, 70% farebox recovery--highest of any transit system in the Bay Area. To save big $, BART should replace outdated, Deadly Caltrain (18 killed by Caltrain this year, twice BART deaths (suicides) and no car-train accidents. By replacing the Caltrain Killtrain, and keeping a separate freight single track, Caltrain excess land is freed up for sale in SF (Mission Bay) and elsewhere to help pay for BART extension down the Peninsula.BART's average ridership exceeds 435,000/day vs deadly Caltrain's (Democrats placeholder for future HSR) meager 60,000/day and that requires transfer delays at each end, unlike BART's homogeneous, integrated,unified system. Last year's Warrior celebration had BART carrying over 550,000 riders--without even the Peninsula extension. 775 new BART cars are coming starting in 2017, too.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

More blogging on BAB, ACE, and the SF Peninsula Corridor highest use - BART

More blogging about if CAHSR cannot be stopped, then HSR should use the SJRRA/ACE corridor to reach the Bay Area, SJ and SF via the East Bay Capitol Corridor/Amtrak trackway, leaving the Peninsula Corridor to replace the 1864 Civil War era deadly street level Caltrain trackway to far more efficient, safe, non-congesting, high-capacity, dual directional, effective BART to connect the final 30 miles from Millbrae to Santa Clara with a united consensus to really move people via backbone, integrated, one-seat, single (but bidirectional redundancy to reach all points around the Bay in case of a track incident). Amtrak does not use the Peninsula Corridor. HSR need not as well to SF.

Since BART is already in core Downtown SF and coming to core SJ, and 15 miles down the Peninsula, it only makes tax, transit, and TDM sense to finish BART's loop around the Bay, even before consideration of a second transbay tube, new SF subways (SF Supervisor Weiner's Sept 2015 proposals) --for about the same cost as "upgrading" Caltrain for HSR and special HSR SF tunnels, and Dumbarton Rail resurrection within the pristine Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge in the southern SF Bay. If HSR's unconstitutional 2008 Ballot Prop 1A, can be revoted for regional rail needs, then finishing the BART bidirectional loop around the Bay integrating the major Bay Area cities, shopping malls, universities, entertainment venues, and airports with a one-seat, safer, more frequent, high-capacity, more reliable Bay area non-stop access redundancy near the backbone BART railway and TOD projects. Posted to CHSRA - Caltrain blog.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

If HSR cannot be stopped, then best to run HSR on ACE-SJRRA tracks. Here's why...

If HSR cannot be stopped and bond funding re-allocated to regional projects instead of destroying farm and ranchlands, and wasting funds competing with at least tax and fee-paying 5 LA-SF intercity private coach companies--and similarly airlines, then the best route for HSR into the Bay Area, and San Jose, is via the ACE and SJ trackway both due to heavier population centers enroute, Livermore, Pleasanton, etc (not Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Lodi, Galt, etc,). This would be consistent with Amtrak which does not go from SJ to the SF dead-end track. Amtrak relies on local transit and rail BART and deadly, outdated, street-level Caltrain. 227 people have been killed in accidents or easy-access suicides since the CHSRA and Democrat political establishment thought to use Caltrain's Peninsula Corridor tracks from SJ to SF deadend in 1995. At least 16 have died on Caltrain-HSR tracks in this most dense Bay Area Peninsula Corridor this year alone--with more to come as regularly as the months arrive on our calendar. With HSR using ACE-SJRRA tracks instead to the Bay Area, then, over the next 15 -20 years BART can finally complete the long-envisioned, extraordinarily bi-directional, high (double current) capacity, safe Bay Area backbone rail loop at "minimal" cost ~$13 Billion, but totally grade-separated making suicides more difficult and vehicular accidents impossible--thus reducing rider delays and increasing efficiency and likely farebox recovery up from BART's current 70% farebox rate.

 There are so many advantages to running HSR on ACE/SJRRA tracks to Oakland (Jerry Brown's hometown) and San Jose/Silicon Valley, rather than uniquely through new environment-destroying Pacheco Pass tunnels and UNP-owned tracks into SJ then deadending in SF. Coming via ACE & SJRRA tracks to Richmond/Oakland could be an economic boon to these cities (example: Oakland's proposed Coliseum City complex and venues)while providing a straight trackway to Sacramento, again, though the proven heavily-traveled I-80 (Capitol Corridor trackway)corridor.

This dual concept (HSR via ACE+SJRRA, complete, one-seat, integrated, bidirectional, electrified, ...) Bart Around The Bay Loop would do more to reduce ICE automobile congestion-induced GHG/Carbon emissions while boosting economic vitality along all corridors while reducing congestion thus restoring highway capacity for vehicular long or very short distance mobility.

 This is really a no-brainer to maximize rail and motorist, general fund, highway tax and fees, cap-and-trade dollar use.
From a legacy standpoint for the Governor's Brown, son Jerry would be completing one of his father's, Pat, most profound public service projects --BART Around The Bay in which Pat Brown was governor in 1962 at the initial BART groundbreaking ceremony--with LBJ!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Simitian's 8/6/15 outrageous and desperate "80%" sales tax to BART versus deadly Caltrain/ aka HSR comments

Reference recent article in local media (~August 6, 2015) citing Supervisor, former State Senator, and former Palo Alto City Council (PA) and and prior land-use attorney about spending county sales tax monies for BART for San Jose--ignoring that PA and county-wide voters overwhelmingly support BART, and, I submit, BART Around The Bay.  To get around the SF Bay, BART must first come to SJ, Santa Clara, then up the Peninsula, and/or down the Peninsula to finish the final 30 miles to close the bay area loop to make BART the most effective transit system in the West!  But, the state Democrat political machine, of which Simitian is a key member, is hell-bent to continue dangerous, deadly Caltrain as the outdated, human sacrificing, HSR surrogate (same track size, unlike BART's) where over 220 people have died on its tracks since he, Senator Hill, and other Dem's were first elected to office in the early 1990's Lives don't seem to matter over their Democrat political HSR allegiance.  

Thus, Simitian's "80%" comments are aimed at those uninformed or easily suckered that he is grossly taking advantage of in the worst way of any politician.   

This alleged 80% 'social justice' transportation inequity is the worst of Simitian's despicable demagoguery on the human sacrificial deadly Caltrain-High Speed Rail tracks.  It is another outcropping of the strongly state Democrat-machine backed HSR vs BART and other transit ops battle and his desperate attempt to rejoin the pro-HSR power block of crony-Capitalist profiteers and crony-Socialist Big Government Soviet style urban density advocates. Simitian ignores to mention a number of items: 
Palo Alto voters in both 2000 joined the 70%county-wide voters in approving that initial BART tax.  
In 2008, both MV and PA voters approved this "operations and maintenance 1/8c BART tax by 66.7%+.  
PA voters, the most educated and highest percentage of post-graduate degree residents of all SCC cities, and Mountain Viewers know that in order for BART to eventually get to their cities, to complete the final 30 miles from Millbrae to SCU to have a one-seat, no-transfers, bidrectional, high-capacity, far safer, zero traffic congesting, quieter, parallel bike/ped trail (redundancy for station incident bypass) loop (reference my BARTAroundTheBay blog) single Bay Area heavy rail reach to the major universities (SCU, SJSU, Stanford, Berkeley, etc), airports, walkable downtown centers, many shopping malls, and other major venues, using tunneling, trenching, at-grade (where no crossings) or aerial configurations--as each city deems appropriate--for about the same cost as the Caltrain ROW (since 1995 HSR placeholder current deadly tracks (227 dead, 16 this year, ~12+ annually)+ Dumbarton surface rail (re-using its 1910 pylons within the Don Edward Wildlife Refuge!)+$2 Billion SF tunneling to TBTerminal, and $1.7 Billion electrification monies). Simitian's despicable "80%" citation and MV and WV cities ignore broad likely and actual voter  support for BART, higher than Caltrain in both North County and South County in past surveys as well as the latest SVLG survey.   The Democrat/Labor Union, crony, and Democrat-led (BAC, SVLG) groups' support for HSR at all costs has, and continues to, ignore citizens desires to implement Silicon Valley's hallmark Creative Destruction to replace deadly Caltrain/HSR standard track's width with BART's unique tracks, while moving HSR, if it cannot be stopped, to come over the (ACE) Altamont Commuter tracks to SJ and Oakland (with BART connections to SF, as Amtrak SF-destined riders do today) as the ACE Board is apparently pushing as a lower cost, lower environmentally destructive, option to current Pacheco Pass tunneling.   With the all-Democrat Palo Alto out-of-touch, HSR-owned city council (Kniss, Wolbach, Berman, Burt, etc) and Democrat-HSR "Stepford Wife"-like majorities in Menlo Park, Mountain View and other Peninsula cities (not Atherton), Caltrain/HSR deaths will continue on this 1864 trackway.   SCC Supervisor Simitian, Sen. Hill, Speier, Tissier, Kniss, Eshoo and other early 1990s first-election politicians all have responsibility to terminate their support for HSR up the Peninsula in order to save 12-20 deaths/year on the Caltrain tracks until they can be replaced over the next 15-20 years with BART (with a safe, separate single freight track).  Congresswoman Speier, who built her politicial career on the basis of deaths around her over the years (Caltrain locomotive #925 emblazoned with her name) stated at the Golden Gate Bridge barrier dedication (16 died over the past 2 decades on bridge head-on collisions vs over 227 on Caltrain tracks--despite fewer Caltrain users/day). 
At the GG Bridge barrier dedication, Speier announced "It is is obligation of elected public officials to protect the public health and public safety", a fact Simitian, Kniss (a former union(?) nurse), Sen. Beall, and especially Senator Jerry Hill, ardent, long-time, BART foe have dutifully ignored in their allegiance to the HSR Democrat "Hall:" machine and its cronies.
Finally, Simitian's demagoguery could've been used when the Hetch-Hetchy aqueduct was being built toward Palo Alto from the Sierra with some of Palo Alto's upfront money. The same could have been said about I-280's construction as it was being built, partly with Palo Alto's gas taxes, and other infrastructure projects--until they arrived into Palo Alto.  
Clearly, Simitian and other Peninsula Democrats "80%" abuse is designed only to acquire more funds for the HSR money-sucking whirlwind cyclone using the deadly Caltrain tracks, and, to block efficient, effective BART around the Bay. 

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Motorist Pulled from car on Caltrain-Killtrain-HSR tracks in Sunnyvale by heroic San Mateo Transit cops seconds before train hits, Monday 8-3-2015.

Motorist Pulled from car on Caltrain-Killtrain-HSR tracks in Sunnyvale by heroic San Mateo Transit cops seconds before train hits, Monday 8-3-2015.

It is absolutely crazy that Silicon Valley cities tolerate this deadly street level,1864 (pre-Civil War Appomattox peace signing, President Lincoln) trackage, except for knowing that the Sacramento power of the Democrat political machine that controls almost all city councils and legislative majorities because of Caltrain's same width trackage ass placeholder and sacrificial altar for High Speed Rail (or as former CAHSRA Chair now calls it "Low Speed Rail).  Until voters demand extending electrified, street separated (required by law), zero traffic congesting, B.A.R.T. the final 30 miles from Millbrae/SFO to Santa Clara future B.A.R.T. station & to connect communities, universities, shopping centers, etc. from their politicians, especially Democrats, this carnage risk on the outdated Caltrain-Killtrain-HSR tracks will continue.  

Political change with the ouster of State Senator Jerry Hill, a long-time opponent of B.A.R.T due to his longstanding HSR support on this embarrassing, deadly, trackway.  Incude Palo Alto City Council members notably (union?) nurse Liz Kniss and others.
 need Silicon Valley's famous "Creative Destruction" to replace Caltrain/HSR with modern BART (775 new BART cars on order to arrive starting in 2017).  Unfortunately, 200+ more will die during that 15-20 year plan-fund-build process--when the city councils move to bring BART down to Santa Clara to complete its bidirectional, high capacity, safe, frequent service via San Jose or San Francisco between the East, South, and Peninsula cities. If HSR cannot be stopped, then it should come to the Bay Area (SF, SJ, Oakland, East Bay) via ACE over the less costly Altamont, freeing up the very dense Peninsula for for far safer, more frequent, electrified, non-congestion, less carbon GHG pollutants--BART--"only" 7 have died this year on its tracks, though it runs many more trains on more stations with higher service frequency, and greater ridership (430,000 weekdays vs. 58,000 on Caltrain-Killtrain's reserved Democrat HSR "sacrificial altar of death" trackway. Since Caltrain's tracks were designated for HSR in the mid-1990's (per Dan Richard, CAHSRA Chairman, January 2015 KCBS interview) were designated for HSR 227 people, teens, hi-tech workers, tourist visitors, young and old, have died on these easy-to-access, outdated street-level trackage, 16 this year alone, 65 since I started periodically to attend Palo Alto (all Democrat), Menlo Park (Democrat majority) and other local (all Democrat controlled) city councils in 2011 appealing to them to seek BART down the rest of last 30 miles of the Peninsula Corridor that Caltrain-Killtrain-HSR altar tracks now occupy.. Unfortunately, some may say that local and Sacramento Democrat politicians' years-long acceptance and support of Caltrain-Killtrain-HSR accidents is not unlike Democrats outright callous, acceptance and encouragement of Planned Parenthood's fetus/baby abortions and body organ and limb sales due to their political aims
Such is life in this Bay Area/Sacramento one-party political monopoly--until the people (voters) make the change.