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Report: Economic impact of electric Caltrain
Original post made
on Jun 13, 2012
Modernizing the Caltrain corridor with electrified trains and updated signal systems could create 9,600 jobs in the Bay Area, according to a report released this week by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute. ==B Related story:== [Web Link
Caltrain looks to bolster service in Palo Alto]
Read the full story here Web Link
posted Wednesday, June 13, 2012, 8:33 AM
Posted by Dennis
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 13, 2012 at 10:04 pm
This 'report' is s real piece of work. Please read it if you have a chance. This article completely misses all the BS filler that is passed off as factual information.
First an observations. The issue of grade separations is mentioned only once, and any new grade separations are "to be determined". Considering the whole point of electrifying Caltrain is to 1) add more trains, and 2) allow them to run faster (generally admirable goals considering real ridership demand), this means that the gates at at grade crossings will be down more frequently, which will cause traffic problems for vehicle and pedestrian traffic. More faster trains and at grade crossings is also a recipe for train vs car and train vs people collisions. The plan to ignore grade separations in this report is indicative of the lack of thought that the MTS has put into their version of electrifying Caltrain.
The 9000 odd jobs promised in the report are mostly transient construction jobs. this is not unexpected, but the report floats that high jobs number throughout. It is misleading at best. The report also goes on the claim thousands of 'indirect' and induced' jobs as a result of electrification. As far as I can tell, those estimates are simply made up. "Many"more jobs will be created by 'the ripple effect', again, a completely made up assertion. The report concludes that as many as 24,000 jobs will be created for every billion dollars spent, as a result of "leakage". I'm guessing "leakage" are dollars that were never needed, but spent, or lost, or otherwise unaccounted for?
Further, the report also claims that property within 0.25 miles of a caltrain station saw the value of that property increase 1.5% to 2.4% for every minute shaved off the Baby Bullet transit time, presumably between SJ and SF. This is a new one on me, essentially the punctuality of a train raises property values? And I know that Caltrain is pretty good about being on-time, but I imagine the transit time between SF and SJ varies more than a few minutes on any given day. This 'statistic', I assert, is completely bogus. The report further claims that SF, San Mateo and Santa Clara (counties I assume) should see a combined real increase in property values of $506,300 for a 5 minute reduction in travel time, and a whopping $1,012,500 increase in property values for a 10 minute reduction in transit time. And there should be a corresponding increase in property tax collected of something between $12,300,000 to $59,100,000 as a result. Of course only if the property is sold, appears to be their only caveat. And then there is the "value of commuter time savings, estimated to be between $185,300,000 and $370,500,000.
And where do all these spectacular estimated benefits come from? Well, here is one of the equations:
logAVit = α + β1Aftert + β2TTCi + β3AftertTTCi + X'it δ + εit
and here is another
logAVit = β0 + β1Aftert + β2TTCi + β3AftertTTCi + (1 Placeboi) (Υ0 + Υ1Aftert + Υ2TTCi + Υ3AfteriTTCi) + X'it δ + εit
Yes, they are from the report. Note the 'placebo' term in the second equation. I wonder what that is all about?
And there is the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, the folks who published this report. There are numerous member companies, one happens to be Parsons Brinkerhoff. They are the large engineering firm that funded the high speed rail ballot initiative, and who's staff are basically running the CA high speed rail authority, who's former employee will soon be the new leader of the CA high speed rail authority. They are also largely responsible for the massive tax payer rip off in Boston a few years back known as the Big Dig.
This report seems to be well within the genre of the glossy brochures the high speed rail authority puts out as fact. I for one, discount it as little more than a deceptive brochure, at best. At worst, well, I'll leave that to you.