News

City unleashes flood of high-speed-rail concerns

Palo Alto's 20-page letter to the rail authority claims latest environmental analysis for proposed project is deeply flawed

Insufficient outreach, inaccurate projections and a shoddy business plan have all plagued the California High-Speed Rail Authority's latest environmental analysis of the $43 billion rail line, Palo Alto officials are alleging in a letter to the rail authority.

The City Council this week approved a letter to the rail authority outlining more than 100 concerns about the controversial high-speed rail line. The letter, which the council unanimously approved Monday night, argues that the rail authority's recently re-released Environmental Impact Report for the controversial rail line includes flawed and "grossly overestimated" ridership figures, inadequate discussion of right-of-way issues, and incomplete analysis of the rail line's impacts on Palo Alto businesses, historic landmarks and air quality.

The letter also describes the document's analysis of the various route alternatives as "inadequate, inaccurate, incomplete and biased."

Some of the city's comments pertain specifically to Palo Alto, including the rail's impact on El Palo Alto, the city's iconic redwood. Other comments take on broader subjects such as noise impacts, greenhouse-gas emissions and the ridership model used by the rail authority in its reports.

The Environmental Impact Report was initially released and certified by the rail authority in 2008, at which time few in Palo Alto knew or cared about the project. But the rail authority decertified and modified parts of the report because of a lawsuit filed by Menlo Park, Atherton and a coalition of transportation and environmental groups.

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Palo Alto's new letter illustrates the city's snowballing concerns since 2008, when the City Council enthusiastically endorsed high-speed rail and state voters approved a $9.95 billion bond for the project. Since that time, the city hired outside consultants, formed a special high-speed-rail committee and watched dozens of high-speed-rail watchdogs and critics spring up around the city and all over the Peninsula.

"This is an issue, frankly, that the council got a little bit of criticism on early on for not being on top of it," Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa said at Monday's meeting. "I think its one where a lot of communities were caught off guard by how quickly the High-Speed Rail Authority moved into plans that had been discussed as part of the election.

"This is a community that's really come together and a staff and council have really come together and said, 'We have to get on top of this, we need to address it and we need to make sure the authority is acting properly.'"

"I think this document speaks to that and really outlines the fact that there are many concerns we as Palo Altans have about nearly every aspect of what's coming out of the high-speed rail authority and we want those questions answered."

Palo Alto officials aren't the only ones asking these questions. Last Thursday, state Sens. Joe Simitian and Alan Lowenthal held an informational hearing on high-speed rail as part of their review of the state budget. Simitian, whose district includes Palo Alto, said he remains concerned about the information released by the rail authority.

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The two senators spent more than an hour grilling rail-authority staff and Rod Diridon, member of the rail authority's board of directors, on issues ranging from right-of-way acquisitions and outreach strategies, to its ridership model and track alignments for the new system.

Simitian also urged the rail authority to do a better job informing the communities along the rail corridor about the project and providing transparent information in a timely manner.

"Frankly it feels like we have to claw this information and this improved behavior out of you," Simitian said. "It's not acceptable."

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City unleashes flood of high-speed-rail concerns

Palo Alto's 20-page letter to the rail authority claims latest environmental analysis for proposed project is deeply flawed

by / Palo Alto Online

Uploaded: Wed, Apr 21, 2010, 4:46 pm

Insufficient outreach, inaccurate projections and a shoddy business plan have all plagued the California High-Speed Rail Authority's latest environmental analysis of the $43 billion rail line, Palo Alto officials are alleging in a letter to the rail authority.

The City Council this week approved a letter to the rail authority outlining more than 100 concerns about the controversial high-speed rail line. The letter, which the council unanimously approved Monday night, argues that the rail authority's recently re-released Environmental Impact Report for the controversial rail line includes flawed and "grossly overestimated" ridership figures, inadequate discussion of right-of-way issues, and incomplete analysis of the rail line's impacts on Palo Alto businesses, historic landmarks and air quality.

The letter also describes the document's analysis of the various route alternatives as "inadequate, inaccurate, incomplete and biased."

Some of the city's comments pertain specifically to Palo Alto, including the rail's impact on El Palo Alto, the city's iconic redwood. Other comments take on broader subjects such as noise impacts, greenhouse-gas emissions and the ridership model used by the rail authority in its reports.

The Environmental Impact Report was initially released and certified by the rail authority in 2008, at which time few in Palo Alto knew or cared about the project. But the rail authority decertified and modified parts of the report because of a lawsuit filed by Menlo Park, Atherton and a coalition of transportation and environmental groups.

Palo Alto's new letter illustrates the city's snowballing concerns since 2008, when the City Council enthusiastically endorsed high-speed rail and state voters approved a $9.95 billion bond for the project. Since that time, the city hired outside consultants, formed a special high-speed-rail committee and watched dozens of high-speed-rail watchdogs and critics spring up around the city and all over the Peninsula.

"This is an issue, frankly, that the council got a little bit of criticism on early on for not being on top of it," Vice Mayor Sid Espinosa said at Monday's meeting. "I think its one where a lot of communities were caught off guard by how quickly the High-Speed Rail Authority moved into plans that had been discussed as part of the election.

"This is a community that's really come together and a staff and council have really come together and said, 'We have to get on top of this, we need to address it and we need to make sure the authority is acting properly.'"

"I think this document speaks to that and really outlines the fact that there are many concerns we as Palo Altans have about nearly every aspect of what's coming out of the high-speed rail authority and we want those questions answered."

Palo Alto officials aren't the only ones asking these questions. Last Thursday, state Sens. Joe Simitian and Alan Lowenthal held an informational hearing on high-speed rail as part of their review of the state budget. Simitian, whose district includes Palo Alto, said he remains concerned about the information released by the rail authority.

The two senators spent more than an hour grilling rail-authority staff and Rod Diridon, member of the rail authority's board of directors, on issues ranging from right-of-way acquisitions and outreach strategies, to its ridership model and track alignments for the new system.

Simitian also urged the rail authority to do a better job informing the communities along the rail corridor about the project and providing transparent information in a timely manner.

"Frankly it feels like we have to claw this information and this improved behavior out of you," Simitian said. "It's not acceptable."

Comments

NIMBY
Crescent Park
on Apr 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm
NIMBY, Crescent Park
on Apr 21, 2010 at 6:10 pm

I thought people in this city are for public transportations all the way. Why do you take an u turn, NIMBY?


mitchell
Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm
mitchell, Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Who wants to go to LA or Fresno on a train. What a waste of M-O-N-E-Y. Why not put the money into something that more would use- BART or other more local public transit.


howard
Crescent Park
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:18 pm
howard, Crescent Park
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:18 pm

The city is out in the cornfield on this issue. The so-called objections are a confected mish-mash of unsupported carping. The city is making a huge mistake. It should embrace HSR and press for a station in Palo Alto.


Larry Cohn
Midtown
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm
Larry Cohn, Midtown
on Apr 21, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Can this letter be viewed on line and if so, where?


Train Neighbor
Ventura
on Apr 21, 2010 at 9:48 pm
Train Neighbor, Ventura
on Apr 21, 2010 at 9:48 pm

This staff report went to Council on April 12, 2010:
Web Link

Comments on Program EIR are due 4/26/10!

Tips on writing EIR comments can be found here:Web Link

Final Bay Area to Central Valley EIR: Web Link

Video simulation of HSR in Palo Alto: Web Link



T Tierney
Downtown North
on Apr 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm
T Tierney, Downtown North
on Apr 21, 2010 at 10:32 pm

The HSR authority can ignore all of these comments because they do not need the California legislature yet -- the authority has permission to do anything they want until they run out of money. Only after the project is partially complete and the funding is gone will they hold California hostage for the balance. The bridge to nowhere will look like a bargain compared to the train to nowhere.


James Hoosac
another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm
James Hoosac, another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Tuesday afternoon, Apple announced its qtr earnings. It was around $3.07 billion dollars. Really great, you'd say, right? But merely 8 hours ago, on the same day, Goldman Sachs also announced its qtr earnings. It was $3.46 billion dollars. Even bigger!

Apple earned its money by developing great products, by having genuinely improved people's lives. Its profit is well deserved.

But what did Goldman Sachs do to deserve its huge profit? The answer is - trading, or in essence, gigantic scale gambling. The company does not produce anything. Not even a screw. It makes no contribution to our society. If anything it has done, it was overall more harm than good.

Yet such a company has stunningly made more money than the hard working people of Apple, or Cisco, or HP.

Don't you think there is something wrong with America?

To me this is insane.


NONIMBYS
another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm
NONIMBYS, another community
on Apr 21, 2010 at 11:38 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Martin Engel
Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 6:11 am
Martin Engel, Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 6:11 am

Whether we support the train or not is certainly a topic for debate.
However, whether a state government agency can violate the law is not a matter for debate, unless of course, someone supports illegal government practices. The new lawsuit,signed by Atherton, Menlo Park and Palo Alto, represents the assertion of those cities to require the state government to conduct itself legally, not lawlessly.

That distinction is ignored by the under-educated, ruthless and myopic who prefer to express themselves with road-rage ad hominem accusations rather than substantive discussions. They should direct their rage at their parents and the school system that have failed to develop their faculties of critical thinking and reasoning.


HSR
Stanford
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:07 am
HSR, Stanford
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:07 am

"That distinction is ignored by the under-educated, ruthless and myopic who prefer to express themselves with road-rage ad hominem accusations rather than substantive discussions. They should direct their rage at their parents and the school system that have failed to develop their faculties of critical thinking and reasoning."
If Mr Engel wants to be taken seriously, maybe he should not do the same things that he accuses supporters of HSR doing--i.e. ad hominem accusations. Please note how he labels people as "under-educated, ruthless and myopic" and claims that they have "failed to develop their faculties of critical thinking and reasoning".
Then he complains about a lack of "substantive discussions".
Looks like the kettle is calling the pot black


Ben
Stanford
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:10 am
Ben, Stanford
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:10 am

HSR is so last century.

For nearly two decades, our Stanford campus has been a leader in high-speed Internet access. Clearly, the best way to move ideas and information worldwide instantly, economically, and in an eco-friendly way is the Internet.

Why blow billions on HSR which moves relatively little between very few fixed points at a very high price? There are much better investments out there for our state and federal governments...high-speed broadband has to be near the top of any reasonable list.


Concerned Citizen
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:29 am
Concerned Citizen, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:29 am

There is one aspect to the HSR project that really bothers me. Somehow, if this is completed, people will magically ride it. Ridership on the VTA buses has lowered to the point that many budget cuts will be required for this already heavily subsidized system. Light rail trains are lightly used. Why are we adding an expensive system if no one rides what we have? Also, there are few if any private mass transportation systems. The transportation infrastructure of connecting vans, buses and other vehicles for the HSR does not exist and will not come into being through some sort of magic. It has to make economic sense for private parties to invest in vehicles and the numbers don't work. A big part of the HSR plan depends on public/private partnership but there don't appear to be any companies stepping forward because they can see through the figure as this project has been proposed.


Merrill Inman Roe
Professorville
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:51 am
Merrill Inman Roe, Professorville
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:51 am

It's significantly more preferable to move bits than atoms.


Merrill Inman Roe
Professorville
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:58 am
Merrill Inman Roe, Professorville
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:58 am

Let's celebrate Earth Day by canceling the HSR!


DR
Mountain View
on Apr 22, 2010 at 10:53 am
DR, Mountain View
on Apr 22, 2010 at 10:53 am

These arguments are hilarious. As soon as the cream has been skimmed off the inquiry phase of this project by the politicians, it will fall by the wayside before the first shovel of dirt is taken.

With our existing infrastructure(federal and local)being badly broken, how do any of you actually think this project will ever get funded?

Stop stewing and carping about esthetics and vote for some politicians who will keep our libraries open, and out Fire/Police departments intact.


Clear Mind
Evergreen Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:03 am
Clear Mind, Evergreen Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:03 am

The only right solution now is to have a hybride system by upgrade the current caltrain from San Jose to San Francisco. They shouldn't call it a "NO Build" solution. They should call it a hybride solution and explore the way to make it legal for the voters. It will function very well and serve the demand of local transportation need. This will save billions of $$$ and make all the resident here happy. The value added by hight speed rail system is absolutely not cost justified for this particular section. I do like to send this message to the authorities.


Walter_E_Wallis
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:24 am
Walter_E_Wallis, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:24 am

Sounds good to me, Clear.


Evan
Crescent Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:29 am
Evan, Crescent Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:29 am

Who wants to take a train to LA? Umm, me. And millions of your neighbors. And I can't wait to do it, hopping on a train in downtown Palo Alto and getting off at Union Station in LA :)


Sara
Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:42 am
Sara, Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:42 am

First of all, I don't think this opposition is truly sincere. These so called deficicies are being brought to the surface because people want to kill the project not make the project better.

It is very easy to perfect a project to death. This is exactly what the PA City Council is doing. No project of this magnitude is ever going to follow every law perfectly, meet every expectation perfectly or be perfectly executed. Why? Because human beings are involved. Remember what a disaster Disneyland was the day it opened? Rides failed, toilets backed up and so on, but they fixed these problems. The same applies to the moon mission and so many other projects of this scale. Imagine if the same annoying attention to detail approach was applied to the New Deal, the WPA, or fighting WW II. Our nation would be dealing with a facist Europe right now.


neighbor
Greenmeadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:52 am
neighbor, Greenmeadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:52 am

Still can't quite grasp the reasoning of someone who thinks NIMBYism is a bad thing when it's our back yard. It's called protecting our quality of life by evaluating the cost/benefit of trains running every 3 minutes ) through the middle of our community(that is the HSR goal, leaving the next generation with a huge bill to pay, grabbing people's homes out from under them, and for what? So someone can play trains? PLEASE take a serious look at the many financial and community problems created by similar projects in Japan and Europe -- and they are communities much less car-focused than we are. Sure riding a train to LA sounds like fun -- but will there be enough passengers to support it in the long run? Very, very doubtful by all accounts. That leaves government subsidies to keep it afloat. Not justifiable in my book.


neighbor
Greenmeadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:52 am
neighbor, Greenmeadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:52 am

Still can't quite grasp the reasoning of someone who thinks NIMBYism is a bad thing when it's our back yard. It's called protecting our quality of life by evaluating the cost/benefit of trains running every 3 minutes ) through the middle of our community(that is the HSR goal, leaving the next generation with a huge bill to pay, grabbing people's homes out from under them, and for what? So someone can play trains? PLEASE take a serious look at the many financial and community problems created by similar projects in Japan and Europe -- and they are communities much less car-focused than we are. Sure riding a train to LA sounds like fun -- but will there be enough passengers to support it in the long run? Very, very doubtful by all accounts. That leaves government subsidies to keep it afloat. Not justifiable in my book.


Wake Up
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm
Wake Up, another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Neighbor said it all in his first sentence. You are right it is YOUR backyard and it's YOU that chose to move next to a 150 year old operational rail line. Wake up!!


M.C.
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm
M.C., another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:13 pm

high speed rail barreling down established communities is never a good idea. it's the reason why it is not done in the rest of the world. the chsra wants to build a world class system yet they keep wanting ignore this.


Spokker
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm
Spokker, another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

"Ridership on the VTA buses has lowered to the point that many budget cuts will be required for this already heavily subsidized system. Light rail trains are lightly used."

VTA bus ridership saw its peak of 154,082 average weekday riders just as the dot-com bust hit. It held steady for a couple of years before it steadily decreased to 97,117 average weekday riders. Since 2005, it has increased to 111,820 average weekday riders despite a terrible recession and unemployment.

Budget cuts were not necessarily VTA's doing, but happened at the state level. As the state eliminates transit funds, local agencies have to cut back whether or not those cuts are warranted.

As for light rail, ridership has surpassed its previous 2001 peak of 30,383 weekday riders. It stands at 34,305 as of 2009.


David
Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm
David, Downtown North
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:31 pm

HSR was placed on the ballot by public transit/political zealots using bogus claims and numbers. The only good news -- checks and balances are built into the initiative with off-ramps if certain conditions are not met.

Required conditions include proving prior claims and signing up private partners with deep pockets. No partners are in sight. HSR is relying on smoke, mirrors, and stalling to try to pull this off.

HSR progress stopped months ago. Deadlines are being missed. Now they are trying to shore up their house of cards. That is not working. Soon the money will run out.

What you are witnessing now are a few rats playing poker with the public. The rats hold weak cards but see themselves as great bluffers. They hope the next card that shows will be their savior. Highly unlikely.

Informed city official leadership from city after city slowly is chipping away at their crumbling facade. Now and then, a card falls out revealing 'there is no there there.' That's the reason questions are asked, but no answers come.


Palo Alto Resident
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm
Palo Alto Resident, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:37 pm

I found it interesting that there was little opposition to high speed rail when the residents in Palo Alto assumed that the rails would be in the east bay. In fact, many of the local residents were very much in support of the concept which limits the growth of cars on the highway. But the moment that Palo Alto residents found out that the plans were for the rails to come through on this side of the bay, they are finding all kinds of arguments and flaws to challenge and stop the plan. It is certainly fair to provide feedback to protect one's backyard, but this opposition should be seen for what it is. The high speed rails are great as long as they are going through someone else's back yard.


Charlie
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm
Charlie, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Diridon light rail is a multi-decades joke. The most heavily subsidized transit in the country, light rail fares cover just $0.16 of each $1.00 of expenses.

You watch. HSR is heading down the same ugly path shepherded by Rod Diridon Sr.

That's why HSR asks you to trust them. Their leadership has done such a great job in the past.



5 Generations in Palo Alto!
Southgate
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm
5 Generations in Palo Alto!, Southgate
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm

How can any self-less person want this high speed rail? I have the trains behind my home. It's a lovely home, in a lovely neighborhood. The present trains are not a bother. The high speed rail will ruin my home and the neighborhood! For those of you wanting this environmentally horrific high speed rail, I suggest you change houses with me. My family has been in this town for over 100 years. We feel the welfare of ALL properties owned by ALL citizens should be a concern to every resident. So, for those living in my old neighborhood, Crescent Park, and elsewhere in Palo Alto, please stop looking at your own selfish needs and have community support for others! Do we really need to get anywhere faster than we already are? Are you pro-high speed rail people also irritated that Scotty can't beam you up already?


Wayne
Green Acres
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm
Wayne, Green Acres
on Apr 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

There was little Palo Alto opposition early-on because negative HSR details were obscured by its leadership. Even today, questions are asked, no answers are provided.

The picture is coming into focus as details emerge one-by-one, and the picture is not pretty.

They say, 'the devil is in the details.' HSR is certainly proving that to be true.

Palo Alto is expressing concern now because all can see where the pitch fork is aimed.


Yes on the train!
University South
on Apr 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm
Yes on the train!, University South
on Apr 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm


I also would LOVE to get on a train in Palo Alto and arrive in LA - I used to take the train from Boston to NY frequently and it was the ONLY way to go!


NO on the TRAIN!
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm
NO on the TRAIN!, another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

The high speed rail system in China already has low ridership problems. Why do we still want to follow the wrong steps! Wake up, people!


Leslie King
Charleston Meadows
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm
Leslie King, Charleston Meadows
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm

We are solidly for public transportation and fully endorse using public funds to fix, maintain, expand our bus system, the BART system and our existing train. Why not make them work reliably and in conjunction with one another? We dont need a shiny, new train while we leave our existing public services and schools in shambles. I believe this measure would fail were it to be voted upon today and wish we could have a re-vote. The state has no money, the HSR underestimates costs and overestimates ridership. We have all been "taken for a ride" and our Bay Area will be damaged beyond repair. The train may be a good idea whose time has NOT come.


P.A. Native
Mountain View
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm
P.A. Native, Mountain View
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:44 pm

I find it funny that neighbor can boil this down to people wanting to "play trains". The difference between my old Brio train set and a statewide high speed rail are gigantic. For example, you can actually ride on the HSR and go really far! I know, it's CRAZY!


HSR yes
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm
HSR yes, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm

to 5 generations in Palo Alto.

Well, the train has been around for a very long time in Palo Alto, since the 19th century.

So, as it is you moved close to the tracks when they were already there. So it's hard to find compassion for someone who takes advantage of lower house prices but then complains about upgrades to the train.

Now, I think you panic needlessly.

1) HSR will be quieter than Caltrain. Electric is quieter than diesel, AND you won't have to hear the horn any longer.
2) HSR trains are much more pleasing aesthetically than Caltrain, by a long shot.

If someone put a train line in my backyard, I would choose HSR any time over Caltrain.

And yes to better public transportation. HSR is a very good idea, especially is the population keeps increasing in California as it has all these years.

Or is Palo Alto going to miss the boat one more time, as it did when BART was rejected here?


HSR yes
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm
HSR yes, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm

To M.C., a resident of another community

You must be kidding. All over the world HSR goes through established, and even through densely populated communities. Examples? London and Paris, for starters, no less. How do the trains get to downtown London and Paris if not for going through all the suburbs?!

Of course they don't go at maximum speed on those stretches, but they won't here either.

Many people here just seem to know very little about HSR. It shows.


Organize
Gunn High School
on Apr 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm
Organize, Gunn High School
on Apr 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Those of us who oppose HSR need to organize and get others to voice their opposition to our representatives. I just read on sfgate.com that Joe Simitian is the chairman of the Senate budget subcommittee that oversees the $9 billion in bonds for the project. Do a search on sfgate.com to find the article.

I did a search on the web for a website that opposes HSR, but couldn't find one. Perhaps someone could start a Californians Against High Speed Rail page on facebook. (I don't have a facebook acccount).


pat
Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm
pat, Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm

“There was little Palo Alto opposition early-on because negative HSR details were obscured by its leadership.”

And because Yoriko Kishimoto and Larry Klein urged the city council to support it and ask all Palo Alto residents to vote for it back in October 2008.
Web Link

AFTER the proposition passed, Kishimoto said “it may be a good idea to release a Memorandum of Understanding among HSR affected cities … containing baseline common interests regarding HSR.”

One of the common interests noted was “more time to review the plan.”

Too bad she and Klein didn’t review the plan before telling us to vote for it.
----
For those of you who would LOVE to ride on the train, how much would you be willing to pay for a ticket? And how many of your tax dollars do you think will be needed for HSR’s financial bailout?
----
“Many people here just seem to know very little about HSR. It shows.”

Many people here just seem to know very little about financial realities. It shows.

How many HSR systems in the world make a profit or even break even? How much do they rely on government subsidies. How much extra money does CA have in the budget these days?
----
Opposition to HSR: Web Link


HSR yes
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm
HSR yes, Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 6:39 pm

pat:

And since when are airports and roads not subsidized?


Spokker
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Spokker, another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Caltrain announces that they need high speed rail to survive.

Web Link

Interesting strategy. It turns an anti-HSR attitude into an anti-Caltrain attitude as well. Many people say that the money should be invested into local transit. Caltrain is local transit. If Caltrain needs HSR to survive, then you are against local transit.

Shrewd move, Caltrain.


Spokker
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm
Spokker, another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 7:36 pm

"That's the reason questions are asked, but no answers come."

Questions were asked and answers were given.

Here are the answers given to the questions asked about the business plan. Web Link

If you don't agree, then you don't agree, but you can't accuse them of not answering questions.


questions not answered
Fairmeadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm
questions not answered, Fairmeadow
on Apr 22, 2010 at 8:43 pm

Spokker, that web link doesn't really answer questions, such as,

- What was the extent of the misrepresentation on ridership and revenue?

- What will be done about the law-breaking revenue guarantee?

A simple collection of words relating to these questions and the issues they represent do not constitute an answer to the questions. They are, indeed, an attempt at a "response" to the questions, but I think most would agree the words are non responsive.


Spokker
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm
Spokker, another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm

"- What was the extent of the misrepresentation on ridership and revenue?"

I'm sure that the California High Speed Rail Authority doesn't think the ridership and revenue models misrepresent the project. Do you expect them to come out and say, "Oh, we misrepresented it by this much!"

No model will be 100% accurate anyway. If that's the bar one must reach before a capital project is ready to be constructed, nothing would be built. Many of our nation's freeways reached capacity sooner than expected, for example.

"- What will be done about the law-breaking revenue guarantee?"

I doubt they believe that it breaks the law. This will all be hashed out in court, as they say. The strategy seems to be to try to get the feds to front the revenue guarantee thus remaining in compliance with 1A.

Even if there is a revenue guarantee, that does not necessarily mean that it will be triggered. High speed rail systems operate in the black.


Know your Facts
Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm
Know your Facts, Menlo Park
on Apr 22, 2010 at 9:51 pm

To Spokker,

The business plan you link to is from THIS month. If you recall, the HSR Authority did not release their first required business plan until a week AFTER the election. This was supposed to be published prior to the election, but the HSRA came up with various excuses... and were excused by the legislature. Also, I am not aware of ANY business plan from the HSRA that has not been thoroughly questioned by the Legislative Analysts Office. So, no, the HSRA did not provide adequate information to the public prior to the election.

Please get your facts straight.


ODB
Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm
ODB, Midtown
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm

If you think it would be so much fun to take the train to L.A., hop aboard Amtrak and have yourself a blast.


Spokker
another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:43 pm
Spokker, another community
on Apr 22, 2010 at 11:43 pm

"The business plan you link to is from THIS month. "

I did not link to a business plan. I linked to an addendum to the business plan.

"f you recall, the HSR Authority did not release their first required business plan until a week AFTER the election."

Because they were starved of funds. And yes, there was a business plan before the election. What they failed to deliver was an updated business plan.

Voters still has the benefit of statewide environmental reviews and a general idea of the route trains would take, including the knowledge that trains would be routed through the Pacheco Pass and up the Bay Area Peninsula along the Caltrain route.

"So, no, the HSRA did not provide adequate information to the public prior to the election."

If voters felt they did not have enough information to make a decision they should not have voted for it. But clearly, 52% or so of state voters, including a higher percentage in the Bay Area, including the Peninsula, wanted to see a train built between Los Angeles and San Francisco.


Sorry for Southgate
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm
Sorry for Southgate, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 23, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Some of the tough comments on southgate NIMBYists are pretty insensitive. The idea that homebuyers should have anticipated an expansion of the right of way into their backyards as well as track elevation is ridiculous. I wouldn't be surprised if many in the neighborhood are ruined financially because of this. I agree with 5 generations in Palo Alto that more empathy is in order.


questions not answered
Fairmeadow
on Apr 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm
questions not answered, Fairmeadow
on Apr 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm

"I'm sure that the California High Speed Rail Authority doesn't think the ridership and revenue models misrepresent the project."

Well, Spokker, do *you* believe that the models accurately represented the most realistic projections?

It was misrepresented. The fact that Diridon won't admit that is part of "questions still aren't being answered."

"Do you expect them to come out and say, 'Oh, we misrepresented it by this much!' "

If they were honest and did not intentionally misrepresent, yes I do.
Why not?


Spokker
another community
on Apr 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm
Spokker, another community
on Apr 23, 2010 at 5:16 pm

"Well, Spokker, do *you* believe that the models accurately represented the most realistic projections?"

I have no clue. I have only a basic understanding of statistics and ridership forecasting, much like the majority of voters. Maybe if I had more time I could look closely at the model and work it out.

Do I have a hunch that HSR will be successful in California? Yeah, I think it will do okay.

"Why not?"

Because, again, they don't think they misrepresented their ridership forecast. In fact, they are touting that their forecast is peer-reviewed and found to be accurate. Web Link Perhaps the Journal of Choice Modeling is corrupt, too. Who knows?

If they did misrepresent the ridership forecast and they are lying to cover it up, someone will have to prove that before they even consider coming out and admitting they did it.

Even with the most honest politicians, consultants and engineers, building such a large capital project involves risk.


Paula
Downtown North
on Apr 24, 2010 at 8:15 am
Paula, Downtown North
on Apr 24, 2010 at 8:15 am

Assembleywoman Diane Harkey wrote this regarding AB 2121. Send her an email to show your support of this bill.

"Selling HSR as a "Jobs" project, we must ensure that this statewide "Monorail" does not defund local transit, needlessly condemn private property, increase taxes, and saddle us with billions in debt, to build a duplicate train system for an unspecified number of riders while severely impacting the inter-state airline industry. With unemployment at 12.6%, how many existing jobs could we be destroying to create a promise of jobs in the future, and at what cost? We need to know - AB 2121 provides a pause and a wake-up call. Get "on-board" and get informed."


questions not answered
Fairmeadow
on Apr 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm
questions not answered, Fairmeadow
on Apr 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm



Yes it is plausible to deny any wrong-doing, without stating what exactly was done.

If the forecasts were legit, there would not be a need for a reworking of the business model.

It is obvious that the forecasts, and other things, were presented to get the train built, rather than to inform the public.


Long time resident
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm
Long time resident, Old Palo Alto
on Apr 24, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Re: Adobe Meadow resident who wrote on April 22nd:
Insensitive, intimidating comments such as those posted by this resident ( and others writing in this same tone) make one ashamed of what is happening to this community. This used to be a town with residents with mutual respect for others that would never think of making bullying comments about others. FYI: Houses in Southgate are NOT cheap so no one in that neighborhood 'took advantage of low house prices" It is an insult to all residents in that neighborhood to debase their homebuying intentions. And, we agree with other comments, that no one who bought a house on the tracks, in any town including Palo Alto, Menlo Park, and Atheron, could ever have envisioned this nightmare.


Sharon
Midtown
on Apr 24, 2010 at 9:12 pm
Sharon, Midtown
on Apr 24, 2010 at 9:12 pm

The property values have tanked for houses along the fantasy HSR route

Fortunately we do not own there, but Old Palo Alto will be impacted soon, who wants to live by a screaming train?
em
The real arguments against HSR are that it would have no market, no need, it would be an environmental disaster and no private money would go to this dead duck

Look at the light rail system in SJ, bad design, bad management, bad business case-- but the same people want to bankrupt us further with the mad HSR scam

One of the results of the volcano in Iceland is that video conferencing for business increased by 35%- Cisco must be very pleased and that is the future


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