work on $100 billion high speed rail line between LA and SF has begun

Discussion in 'The Mainboard' started by lechnerd, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. lechnerd

    lechnerd They say Monaco is a sunny place for shady people
    Texas AandM Aggies alt

    Original cost was projected to be $40 billion, swelled to $100 billion before work even began.
    Completion date: 2033
    Public approval has dropped from 48% to 31% today


    A $100 Billion Train: The Future of California or a Boondoggle?
    In the face of sharp opposition and questions about how to pay for it, construction of California’s high-speed rail line is roaring ahead.

    Proponents of the Los Angeles-to-San Francisco high-speed rail line hope that erecting part of the line now will make future governors less likely to abandon the project. A viaduct in Fresno, Calif., is intended to carry the line over a freeway.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

    By Adam Nagourney

    • July 30, 2018
    FRESNO, Calif. — It is vigorously opposed by Republicans, including President Trump. It has been plagued by escalating costs and delays. Californians are mostly against it. And a central question — how is it going to be paid for — remains unresolved.

    But here in the Central Valley, far from the debates in Washington and Sacramento, the $100 billion Los Angeles-to-San Francisco bullet train has moved off the drawing board and onto 21 construction sites spread across five Central California counties.

    Work began two weeks ago on one of the more ambitious pieces of the project — an overpass that will carry trains over a major highway in Fresno — and ground will be broken on three more viaducts in the next few months. Nearly 2,000 workers are on the job, starting as early as 5 a.m. to avoid the 110-degree afternoon heat. “Simply put, dirt is flying in the Central Valley,” the High-Speed Rail Authority declared in a recent business plan.

    Yet for all the cranes, crews in orange vests, beeping trucks and fresh concrete, it remains far from certain that this project will ever be completed. In addition to the lack of funding, it faces opposition from both Mr. Trump and Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield Republican who is the House majority leader.

    The continued delays and rising costs have fueled criticism that California, perhaps the most prosperous state in the nation, is squandering money on a transportation project that critics describe as a prime example of big government waste in a state controlled by Democrats.

    “This is going to be the most expensive and slowest form of fast rail imaginable,” said Jim Patterson, a former Fresno mayor who is now a Republican member of the Assembly and a critic of the project.

    For all the construction, the project faces the ever-present threat that a future governor may decide that state resources would be better used dealing with, to name one example, the housing crisis. Gov. Jerry Brown, a big proponent, is leaving office at the end of the year.

    Work on the $100 billion project is under way at 21 construction sites in five counties, even though not all the necessary financing is in place. Workers installed reinforcing steel for a bridge across the San Joaquin River.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times
    “The project seems to make even less sense today,” said Joe Nathan, a professor of public policy at Stanford University.

    For advocates of high-speed rail, California under Mr. Brown has been a rare bright spot, while other ambitious government-funded bullet train proposals across the nation have struggled in the face of opposition from Republicans who are concerned about the costs and disruptions.

    Gov. Rick Scott of Florida rejected Federal funds to help build a high speed rail line from Tampa to Orlando, saying it was too expensive for taxpayers. Attempts to upgrade rail service between New York and Boston on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor have repeatedly faltered because of community opposition.

    A high-speed rail line is moving ahead in Texas, connecting Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, but it is being financed by private industry.

    The high-speed train in California, championed by Mr. Brown, a Democrat, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, his Republican predecessor, is the most ambitious public transportation project underway in the nation today. It is moving ahead while other mass transit improvement ambitions — for the subway system in New York City, for an innovative elevated train line in Honolulu — have also been hamstrung by costs and opposition.

    Mr. Brown’s enthusiastic backing has been crucial to the project’s advances. Gavin Newsom, the Democratic lieutenant governor and the leading contender to succeed Mr. Brown, has offered conflicting views of the project over the years; he has at times come close to opposing it outright, though in this campaign he has said he supported it, while expressing concern about costs and engineering challenges. By contrast, his Republican opponent, John Cox, has pledged unequivocally to abandon the project if elected.
    Championed by Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, his Republican predecessor, the high-speed rail line is the most ambitious public transportation project now underway in the country.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Time
    The 800-mile line from Los Angeles to San Francisco is scheduled for completion by 2033. There is no shortage of obstacles to what even the project’s biggest boosters call an ambitious timetable, including the engineering challenge of tunneling through the Tehachapi Mountains, a barrier between the Central Valley and Los Angeles.

    The cost was originally supposed to be split among the state, the federal government and private business. But that arrangement faltered, as hopes for federal dollars faded with Republicans in power in Washington and businesses shied away from such an uncertain venture. As of now, the rail authority has come up with less than $30 billion of the necessary $100 billion, and the project’s costs are expected to continue to rise.

    “The rest has to be found,” said Martin Wachs, an emeritus engineering professor at the University of California at Berkeley and a member of a committee appointed by the Legislature to review the project. “At the moment, 100 percent of the cost is going to be absorbed by the taxpayers.”

    Beginning construction without all of the financing in place represents a strategic gamble by the rail authority, and by Mr. Brown, that once enough work is completed, future leaders will be loath to walk away from the project and leave a landscape of unfinished pillars, viaducts, bridges and track beds. Faced with reduced resources, the authority has altered its plans, and is now focused on finishing a 119-mile stretch of track from Bakersfield to Madera by 2022.

    Brian P. Kelly, the head of the authority, argued that when this stretch of train is completed, people will rally around the project and the business community would become convinced of its viability.

    “If I can get trains on the ground, Californians will start to see that this is something that we want,” he said. “There’s a lot of attention paid to what we don’t have. But we have significant fund-raising to get done what we have to get done.”

    “Yes, the project has challenges,” Mr. Kelly said. “And the primary challenge for this same project is the same today as it was the day the voters passed the bond: And that is, we don’t have enough money to build what we want to build.”


    In downtown Fresno, more than 300 homes and businesses have been relocated, some by condemnation, to make way for the rail line. A mile-long network of viaducts, bridges and platforms is rising more than 60 feet over farmland.

    “We had to shift this freeway here over by 100 feet,” said Diana Gomez, the Central Valley regional director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, as she drove down a brand-new stretch of Highway 99 that was rebuilt to make way for the train line just north of this city.

    The strategy of concentrating first on the section from Bakersfield to Madera puts off tunneling through mountains, which Mr. Kelly said could cost anywhere from $4 billion to $13 billion. It also means that people living in California’s two major population centers — San Francisco and Los Angeles — will see no sign of the project any time soon.

    “The latest business plan is essentially a going-out-of-business plan,” Mr. Patterson said. “It finally admits that it cannot complete a high speed rail plan between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It’s a rump railroad.”

    But John Hernandez, an employee with the Small Business Administration who lives in Fresno, said a high-speed train would transform his town, bringing in more visitors and making it easier for him to get to big cities.

    “It would change my life,” he said. “I would be able to go places faster. I could get on a train at noon and be in San Francisco at 3 p.m.”

    It has been 10 years since Californians voted to approve the $9.95 billion bond, a down payment on a project that was estimated at that time to cost $40 billion. Public enthusiasm is dwindling. While 48 percent of respondents said they supported the project in a U.S.C./Dornslife/Los Angeles Times poll done in May, just 31 percent said they wanted the state to continue building the rail line after they were told of the cost overruns.
    Some construction crews on the rail project start work as early as 5 a.m. to avoid the Central Valley’s 110-degree afternoon heat. At a plant in Hanford, Calif., south of Fresno, workers fabricated precast beams for the rail line’s bridges and viaducts.CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times
    Roger Dickinson, the executive director of Transportation California, a transit advocacy group, said the obstacles were significant, but the need for the train was critical.

    “Looking at the need for increased environmentally sound ways of moving people between Northern and Southern California, it’s a project that still makes great sense, and I think it will be successful.”

    Karen Philbrick, executive director of the Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University, said the problems were not unlike those that confront any ambitious project.

    “Approximately two dozen other countries have found H.S.R. feasible, including Uzbekistan,” she said, referring to high-speed rail. “And there is no reason it can’t be done here.”

    It remains entirely conceivable that the state could walk away from the project, and put the acquired rights of way and new viaducts to other uses, like conventional freight or passenger trains. The question is whether the construction on display in the Central Valley will be enough to dissuade a future governor from doing that.

    “The more they can show what they have done, the harder it is to abandon the project,” Mr. Wachs said. “On the other hand, it can easily be argued that the cost of what they have done so far has so exceeded their projections that it’s not inappropriate for a governor to look at it and say, ‘Let’s not throw more good money after bad.’”

    Mr. Kelly said that the merits of the project would ultimately pull it through.

    “The project has been a political football for some time,” he said. “What I know is this: This project has all the right points of what California is trying to do with transportation. We are trying to provide fast, efficient service and we are trying to do it in a clean way that expands our economy.”
    tmbrules and dump like this.
  2. Doc Louis

    Doc Louis Well-Known Member

  3. Wu

    Wu “FUT sucks too” - SugarShaun
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    That’s a lot of cocaine
  4. Fancy

    Fancy thanks, i hate it
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    Come on ride the train

    And ride it
  5. steamengine

    steamengine I don’t want to press one for English!
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    Looks like it also goes to Sacramento, San Diego, and Vegas.
  6. Josey Wales

    Josey Wales Well-Known Member

    When the going gets tough, America gets apathetic!

    Guilty as charged.
  7. Struggler

    Struggler Well-Known Member
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    $5 gas will get that lost 17% back on board.
    Where Eagles Dare likes this.
  8. Clown Baby

    Clown Baby A good poster that wont whiff away while driving

    Choo choo
    Choo choo
  9. GoodForAnother

    GoodForAnother thank you, I will drink until next morning
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    It sounds like a better investment if you compare it to the $700 billion we spend on weapons every 12 months
  10. Clown Baby

    Clown Baby A good poster that wont whiff away while driving

    But muh borders
    Mix, ARCO, The Hotch and 21 others like this.
  11. Josey Wales

    Josey Wales Well-Known Member

    Let’s hire an alcoholic skipper tondrive tankers and play slalom with the icebergs.
  12. Struggler

    Struggler Well-Known Member
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    I’m not ordering the special
    Jax Teller and BudKilmer like this.
  13. Clown Baby

    Clown Baby A good poster that wont whiff away while driving

    What’s ya major, dude? Betcha read a lot of Gordon Wood
    dump, Fancy, Struggler and 1 other person like this.
  14. duc15

    duc15 Hey Nong Man
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    I watched this episode last night, I think it is my #1 episode
    pbfp2008 likes this.
  15. Nelson

    Nelson Can somebody please get Ja Rule on the phone
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    I’d much rather see that kind of money go to viable public transportation in LA and the Bay themselves
    PSU12 likes this.
  16. kinghill

    kinghill Well-Known Member
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  17. DrunkJester

    DrunkJester No longer drunk or funny.

    I just want them to fix the DC metro
    BigReff73 likes this.
  18. Drew Swinney Esq

    Drew Swinney Esq You've gotta be on the team to get a ring.
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    I always knew that cats with human faces don't support the troops.
  19. Jake Barnes

    Jake Barnes LOOK AT THAT LASER!!!
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    Didn’t feel like waiting for Musk, I guess.
    blind dog likes this.
  20. Eric The Viking

    Eric The Viking Nitro, the All Knowing
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    Don’t forget about Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook.
    ARCO, BudKilmer, Jax Teller and 17 others like this.
  21. G46

    G46 Well-Known Member
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    The red line hasn’t caught on fire in awhile, so that’s something to point to.
  22. Futureman

    Futureman Check you later kemosabe
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    Cool things are expensive to make. Count me as someone who can’t wait for these to be all over the country.

    Fun fact: it took 60 years to build the outer loop of Houston called Beltway 8. At a cost of roughly $5 billion adjusted for inflation. :themoreyouknow:
    #22 Futureman, Jul 31, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2018
  23. Doc Louis

    Doc Louis Well-Known Member

    Forget it, it's more of a Shelbyville idea
  24. Lawnole23

    Lawnole23 FSU Seminoles 2020 National Champions
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    I call the big one Bitey
    pbfp2008 and Fusiontegra like this.
  25. lechnerd

    lechnerd They say Monaco is a sunny place for shady people
    Texas AandM Aggies alt

    That’s phase 2.

    Huge if they even finish phase 1.

    I’d ballpark the completion of phase 2 at 2040 under optimal conditions.
  26. lechnerd

    lechnerd They say Monaco is a sunny place for shady people
    Texas AandM Aggies alt

    You’ve conflated our military budget with the amount we spend on weapons.
    Jim Brockmire and pbfp2008 like this.
  27. HatterasJack

    HatterasJack Is your refrigerator running? It's Mike Hunt.

    If that is the true cost (and lets be honest, it will run over) then this is a stupid project. Hell, you could operate a fleet of planes to ferry folks back and forth for much less. Its about an hour flight that can generally be purchased for a little over $100.
    Nelson, Dave and Llama like this.
  28. Wu

    Wu “FUT sucks too” - SugarShaun
    TMB OG

    It will definitely help transport the record number of homeless in the state
    Taffy and a.tramp like this.
  29. Icculus is a Bammer

    Icculus is a Bammer marco esquandolas took my job
    New Orleans PelicansNew Orleans SaintsDC United

    No but of course a portion of the dreadline is down until September for repairs which has caused mayhem on the currently operating portion of the red and also causing residual problems on the green. Surely once the repairs are complete the redline will catch on fire again
    DrunkJester likes this.
  30. Llama

    Llama New Member
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    I think they need to add another $100 billion and 10 years to their estimates.
    DirtBall likes this.
  31. FourClover01


    It's only 1/10 of a trillion dollars, it is really not that much guys.

    I think some of the marijuana tax should go to this project.
  32. G46

    G46 Well-Known Member
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    The amazing thing is that it’s just pretty much accepted now that there will always be some major issue with the metro.
    Icculus is a Bammer likes this.
  33. Fudd Gates

    Fudd Gates Charitable donations in excess of 1.4m ventilators
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    I'll stick with my G7
  34. Josey Wales

    Josey Wales Well-Known Member

    Now I’ve read shit you haven’t even heard of
    Clown Baby likes this.
  35. Clown Baby

    Clown Baby A good poster that wont whiff away while driving

    I guess you never really were that good, Will Hunting. Now how do you like dem apples?
    Doc Louis likes this.
  36. Cheshire Bridge

    Cheshire Bridge 2017 & 2019 National Champions - Clemson Tigers
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    Isn't California financially stable now?
  37. MoJo

    MoJo It bees that way sometimes...
    Southern Mississippi Golden EaglesNew Orleans Saints

    I'd have a lot more confidence in this project if super-genius/ future POTUS Elon Musk was leading the way.

    Imagine this, underground....
    DirtBall, Wu, Tiffin and 1 other person like this.
  38. bwhit21

    bwhit21 Well-Known Member
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    Hong Kong (and China) just finished a 30 mile bridge to Macau for more than RMB 100 billion. You can’t drive all the way across it without special license/permits, which are limited, so most people will park at the port and take public transit the rest of the way. It will take an hour for most people to reach Macau.

    There’s already a ferry that takes an hour.

    The LA/SF train sounds like a better use of money.
    Tiffin likes this.
  39. EagleDuck

    EagleDuck Well-Known Member
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    Can’t believe it took this long to finally get that Victorville to Vegas line. Huge untapped market.
  40. fish

    fish Impossible, Germany
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    Struggler and mb711 like this.
  41. Nelson

    Nelson Can somebody please get Ja Rule on the phone
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    It was more built for political reasons than economic ones. That bridge was being built no matter the cost because of the need to dissolve Hong Kong’s autonomy and independence
  42. DriveByBBQ

    DriveByBBQ Well-Known Member
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    -More about the privately funded track in Texas

    -World’s fifth largest economy

    -this the plot from True Detective season two.
  43. JeremyLambsFace

    JeremyLambsFace For bookings contact Morgan at 702-374-3735
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    Worth it
    Futureman likes this.
  44. Jim Brockmire

    Jim Brockmire I think you're wildly underestimating heroin.
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    Should be paid off in a shade under 3 centuries.
  45. Jake Barnes

    Jake Barnes LOOK AT THAT LASER!!!
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  46. KeepingItRealSince1853

    KeepingItRealSince1853 We're Not Cocky, We're Honestly Just That Good
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    Looking forward to a scene like this playing out: