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Peninsula residents clash over high-speed rail
Original post made
on Jan 22, 2010
California's proposed high-speed rail system is either a badly needed boost to the state's workers and commuters or an overpriced, shoddily planned boondoggle that needs more oversight and a better business plan.
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posted Friday, January 22, 2010, 12:22 AM
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Posted by Parent
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jan 26, 2010 at 6:20 pm
Bianca, (Board Member of "Californians for High Speed Rail"). Your organization's trite one liners don't work here.
1. High Speed Rail forced through the Caltrain route does NOTHING to improve traffic woes in the Peninsula, and in fact makes traffic problems MUCH MUCH worse for Peninsula communities. CHSR is NOT, (and the authority in their EIRS and planning documents freely admit) is NOT a local commute solution. HSR is a long distance alternative. Local trips on HSR were estimated (in the low $55 ticket price scenario) to cost 3X as much as a Caltrain ticket for short distance routes. Under their latest scenario ticket prices have doubled. HSR will NOT take local commuters off the road, but IT WILL draw massive numbers of Long Distance Travelers off the 101 freeway, away from SFO and SJ airports, deep into the middles of the small residential neighborhoods to reach caltrain located stations. Massive traffic impacts will ensue. This does not even include the levels of TOD that will further crowd our streets, shops and schools. Nothing about HSR on the Peninsula helps the Peninsula, certainly not in terms of auto traffic.
2. The CHSRA's ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS (ie: CO2 reduction, reduced needs for roads and reduced need for airports, cars taken off the road, etc) are all based on the trumped up, grossly overstated ridership projections that went with the 2008 Prop 1A snake oil sales job. The CHSRA in their latest business plan state that the drastically higher ticket prices, and drastically lower riderships are required for the revenue maximizing scenario WHICH WILL BE REQUIRED to attract private investment. Bianca, being the real champion of the environment that we all know you must be, you of ALL PEOPLE should be requiring CHSRA to provide a restatement of their environmental benefits to go with their grossly lower ridership projections.
3. Even the new ridership projections have been pretty much debunked as pure garbage. Even the CHSRA admits in its own business plan that it will need 'investment grade' riderhip projections (ie: truthful, competent ridership projections). So when the ridership numbers come in not at 40M per year (already less than half of the promised leading up to the Prop1A election), but at 20M, then not only do we NOT obtain any of the road, airport, auto congestion or CO2 benefits, but we find ourselves subsidizing ALL THREE. Roads will continue to be maintained, ALL roads and more than exist today, will still exist with HSR.
4. HSR is a long distance solution, it belongs where long distance traffic resides. It does not belong in backyards, school yard, neighborhood parks. Period. Go ahead and create jobs, take long distance trips off the road, and minimize environmental impacts - BY TAKING THE ROUTE DOWN FREEWAY MEDIANS, and THROUGH EMPTY SPACE (as was advertised by yourselves and CHSRA in those glossy animations before the election. You will continue to get nothing but political backlash, grief, lawsuits and negative publicity here until the CHSRA moves its route.
5. Caltrain doesn't need HSR to make improvements that imrprove service, make it cleaner and quieter, and that improve safety. Electrification and grade separation can be done WITHOUT HSR, without the massive increases train numbers and speeds, and without doubling (or more) the width of the tracks. There is no reason AT ALL that Caltrain can not apply for and win federal funding, all on its own for these improvements. Caltrain isn't funded for these improvements? Well guess what, neither is CHSR. Not even close. Fed Funding of even as much as $1B would represent only 2% of the funding needed in today's lowballed versio of the business plan. Caltrain has a much better chance ALONE of achieving every dollar of funding it needs to improve its self and create ALL the environmental and economic benefits needed.
Finally, and emphatically, the alternative to doing HSR, is NOT doing nothing. HSR can be done correctly (in the correct locations) for starters. The state can spend money on building green industries to create high paying PERMANENT job and solve environmental issues. The state can focus on water projects, levies, rebuilding crumbling schools, LOCAL TRANSPORTATION (that would actuall HELP take traffic off the roads, unlike HSR), it can even build FREIGHT rail that would take trucking off the roads.
The alternative to HSR is NOT DOING NOTHING. This is the flaw in your empty logic