News

Opinion shifts against high-speed rail

New Field Poll shows nearly two-thirds of California voters support a new election on project

As the price tag for California's proposed high-speed-rail system continues to swell, so does public opposition to the voter-approved project, a new poll has found.

Nearly two-thirds of the voters surveyed by Field Poll said they would welcome a new vote on the project, which has seen its estimated cost nearly triple since voters approved a $9.95 billion bond for the rail system in 2008. Voters also, by nearly a two-to-one margin, said they would reject the bond package if it were resubmitted to them.

The poll was conducted in the middle of November, two weeks after the California High-Speed Rail Authority released an updated business plan showing the cost of the proposed line rising from an earlier estimate of $43 billion to $98.5 billion.

The poll showed that 64 percent of the surveyed voters said they would support another public vote on the project, while 30 percent said they would oppose such a vote and 6 percent said they have no opinion. The poll also indicates that the desire to hold another vote transcends party lines. It showed 57 percent of Democrats, 66 percent of Republicans and 73 percent of nonpartisan voters favor a new vote.

"There is strong sentiment for holding another vote across all partisan subgroups and irrespective of how voters may have voted on the project in the 2008 election," the poll states.

The poll also suggests that if another election were to take place, the project would be a tough sell. Of those surveyed, 59 percent said they would now vote against the project. This includes 73 percent of Republicans, 61 percent of nonpartisan voters and 49 percent of Democrats (40 percent of surveyed Democrats said they would support it).

The Field Poll question stated:

"Nine billion dollars in state bonds were approved by California voters for the High Speed Rail project in the November 2008 election. At the time, the project's estimated cost was $43 billion and its targeted completion date was 2020. More current estimates now put its cost at $98 billion and its completion date as 2033. Some think that the state legislature should resubmit the bond package to voters for another public vote next year.

Regardless of how you feel about the project, do you favor or oppose the legislature putting the 9 billion dollar state bond package to another public vote in next year's statewide elections?"

The poll result underscores the continuing uncertainty about the proposed rail system's funding plan and revenue projections. Over the past month, the new business plan been criticized by the Legislative Analyst's Office, the Palo Alto-based watchdog group Californians Advocating Responsible Rail Design and various legislators questioning the rail authority's plan to fund the system. The Palo Alto City Council, which supported the project in 2008, is now considering taking a firm stance against it and calling for state legislators to either pull the plug on high-speed rail or call for another election.

Some in the state Legislature have long questioned the rail authority's proposal to build the line. Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point, has emerged as one of the leading critics of the project.

"What was sold to the people in California is not what we now see in the business plan," Harkey said during a Nov. 29 hearing on the project.

In response to the poll, the rail authority released a statement highlighting reasons for proceeding with the project, including the 100,000 jobs the authority expects high-speed rail to generate.

"To backpedal on this project means we reject billions in stimulus funds, lose 100,000 new jobs and, ultimately, pay tens of billions more for congested highways in the long run," the authority said in a statement. "The uncertain economy may give some voters pause, but this kind of infrastructure investment and job creation is exactly what we need at this time and we will be making that case to Californians across the state who voted to start this project in 2008."

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:11 am

I would love a chance to vote again.


Like this comment
Posted by NIMBY
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:14 am

The NIMBY lobby is extremely vocal.


Like this comment
Posted by Jim H.
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:18 am

The HSRA statement says, "To backpedal on this project means we reject billions in stimulus funds, lose 100,000 new jobs and, ultimately, pay tens of billions more for congested highways in the long run."

I think fewer people would be backpedaling if the project were as advertised in the '08 election. The feds have already said they are not going to give any more billions. The money they've given won't make the project viable. The 100.000 new job claim is suspect.

If the HSRA can show us what the CA budget will look like between 2012 and 2040 with HSR, and tell us where they plan to cut in order to fund the new interest payments and who will lose their jobs in order to "create" 100,000 "new" jobs, then that would be a better discussion.

Right now they're trying to convince us to let them build it and we'll figure out the rest later. I don't think so.


Like this comment
Posted by Freeway Capacity
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 6, 2011 at 10:26 am

Technology will solve the freeway capacity problem sooner than High Speed Rail would. See Web Link for Sebastian Thrun's work on the driverless car.

We should instead of beefing up local transit.

The place where higher speed rail makes sense is the Northeast Corridor (Boston/New York/Washington DC), which did NOT receive High Speed Rail funds.


Like this comment
Posted by Adam
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Dec 6, 2011 at 11:05 am

A lot of people like me would love to see a high speed rail link from San Jose to LA, but only IF the numbers make sense.

The obviously calculated and cynical bait-and-switch tactics used by the CHSRA to sell this have made most folks who follow this have absolutely no confidence in them whatsoever.

The other thing is anyone who thinks critically about these numbers realizes something is not kosher. $100 billion for this line works out to $250 million PER MILE!! For a train track? really? This is 10 times the price of highway construction in congested areas and maybe 100 times the price in rural areas. This smells of corruption.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 6, 2011 at 11:12 am

@Freeway capacity

Yeah, obviously no would object to beefing up Caltrain with electrification, grade separation and passing tracks.


Like this comment
Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 11:29 am

“The 100,000 new job claim is suspect.”

As is everything else we hear from the HSR authority. It’s all spin and no wonder, given the amount spent on PR.

“They have yet to lay a single track, but the California High-Speed Rail Authority has spent some $12.5 million on public relations in the past two years - with a number of politically connected consultants getting in on the ride.” Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 1:12 pm

@ NIMBY:

I don't think it is a silly "NIMBY" label that is vocal. After all, I think that those who use that label are much louder and more repetitious.

Rather, I think that the 2-to-1 majority of California voters who oppose this boondoggle are loud because they don't want to see $100 Billion spent on a fast train between San Francisco and Los Angeles that will be used by a limited ridership and will still be more expensive, less safe and slower than air travel.

At this point in time (and with the current ultra-expensive model), the majority realize that California just can't afford it.

Right now, it is estimated to cost every man, woman, elderly resident, child and baby nearly $3000 just to construct it -- and that is before the year 2033 when anyone is permitted to buy an overpriced ticket (or the inevitable calls for higher subsidies when it becomes clear that the demand for tickets to support the thing is lower than expected).

Until the U.S. government decides to subsidize the bulk of the cost for such a system (ala Interstate Highway Act), then it is just a burden that California taxpayers should not have to bear.


Like this comment
Posted by Just wondering?
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm

Anyone know why rescinding HSR has not been on the ballot yet?


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm

Does anyone else think that this has BIG DIG written all over it?


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 1:29 pm

@ Just wondering?:

I was thinking the same thing. It may be that people simply do not believe that the thing that won a slight majority in 2008 even exists anymore.

After all, NO ONE voted for what is currently being proposed. A slight majority of voters approved a $9.95 Billion bond for a project that would cost $43 Billion and be completed in ten years. That was approximately 20-25% of the cost.

Now, the project will cost $100 Billion and be completed sometime between 2033-2040. And, of course, this cost is if nothing else happens to drive up the cost even more. That $9.95 Billion bond now represents about 10% of the expected cost...but for a project that would be completed in 25-30 years.

Like someone said, I suspect that technology will advance quite a bit between now and then. And, of course, there are good questions about how many people would actually use this method of transportation between here and Los Angeles.


Like this comment
Posted by Greg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Dec 6, 2011 at 1:57 pm

@Nayeli,
This technology is from the 80s. It isn't even mag lev. The project was misrepresented from the start and now entrenched interests are trying to shove it through despite the escalating costs. I'm just wondering at what cost the advocates of this project will back off. If 3x didn't do it, what about 5x? 10x?


Like this comment
Posted by What are the jobs?
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Dec 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

What are the 100,000 jobs, roughly? I mean, what positions are they?


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 6, 2011 at 2:55 pm

If it went back to the ballot the project might be rescinded, just like if it went to the ballot the hundreds of billions needed to maintain our freeway system might be canceled (we just don't have the money), or people would choose to pass the tax burden onto their kids generation while simultaneously destroying their school system (oh wait, that already happened).


Like this comment
Posted by Carlos
a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 6, 2011 at 3:59 pm

Run the high-speed rail from SF to LA using the almost-flat route used by the Amtrak Coast Starlight train. Forget about running it out to Fresno and Bakersfield and over the mountains. Then maybe we could afford it.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 4:21 pm

@ Robert:

For $100 Billion, you could probably repave EVERY highway and interstate in California (and add quite a few lanes to boot) within 10 years.

In this situation, $100 Billion will only create a single set of tracks from San Jose to Los Angeles over a period of 25 years.

I just can't believe that this thing would cost so much!


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 6, 2011 at 4:39 pm

@Nayeli

Its really hard to argue with facts you just pull out of thin air, but for some perspective, its costing $1.6 billion to widen a short 7 mile stretch of I5 in LA, as well as $4.5 billion to widen another section of I5 in north San Diego county.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm

@ Robert:

I was being sarcastic. I apologize if I wasn't clear enough.

My point was that $100 Billion is an ENORMOUS amount of money for a single train from San Jose to Los Angeles that will be used by relatively few people.

Yeah, public works projects are exceptionally expensive in this state. I don't know all of the reasons why. However, the bottom line is that the slight majority of voters who supported the bond in 2008 didn't sign on to this $100 Billion project (that will still likely go over the already inflated budget) for a train that will be read in about 25 years.


Like this comment
Posted by sheri
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 4:55 pm

The 100,000 jobs aren't really 100,000 positions. As I recall, each "job" is a for a year's duration. Assuming a 20 year project, with each worker working for 5 years, that's only 1250 actual jobs.

And, BTW, it will take something like 70 years of operations to offset the CO2 created by the construction of the HSR.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm

And again, if anyone has a proposal to expand the air corridor between northern and southern California (busiest in the nation) for anywhere near $100 billion, keeping in mind that expanding current airports is off the table, I would love to hear it.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 6, 2011 at 5:43 pm

@ Robert:

The "air corridor" will be widened by default with larger aircraft. The latest wide-body passenger aircraft from Boeing and Airbus are capable of doubling or even TRIPLING the number of passengers on each plane while saving fuel costs (per passenger) at the same time.

Moreover, the upcoming "blended wing" designs that are currently in development will potentially carry five times as many passengers on every flight while offering safer (explosive fuel stored in wings rather than underbelly) and more comfortable travel experience.

So, yes, those air corridors will be "expanded" by default (just like you can carry more passengers when school bus designs went from 30 to 60 seats) even without the airports having to build more runways.


Like this comment
Posted by Stan
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Dec 6, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Isn't this the third poll showing that California voters still reject the boondoggle high speed rail plan? Even the poll the CA HSR Authority did a year or two ago, which they claimed showed support for HSR, until the actual data were released and showed that their conclusion were nothing but lies, just like everything else the CA HSR Authority spews forth.

Is crying NIMBY the best justification for high speed rail in this state? How pathetic, just like the CA HSR Authority.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 6, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Just another gravy train for connected termed out career politicians and the cronies that hang around the capital.

We the sheeple taken again!

Its a great idea but taken over by inept incompetent corrupt politicians/leaders it's a train to no where.

Welcome to the third world.

Stiffed again!


Like this comment
Posted by George
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Dec 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm

2-1 oppose HSR, a credible poll is now saying.

Yet the High-Speed Rail Authority is still out there stumping to spend ever-more money hard-working Californians don't have, money Californians can't afford. HSR has the answer: borrow it. Never mind how much. It'll create jobs. Never mind how many.

But wait. Money from the feds ain't free, either. Ever hear of the IRS? They take big taxes from us every year so they can hand it over to politicians with hare-brained schemes like HSR (which sounded better $60 billion ago). The ever-growing HSR rat hole now gapes wide enough to swallow many trains whole with no survivors.

Kill the HSR monster, kill it now...before it eats all of California.


Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 6, 2011 at 11:50 pm

The argument regarding 100,000 jobs is pretty amazing. Let's say we ignore the truer figure of ~1250 jobs and agree to the 100k number. If my calculations are correct, that's $1,000,000 per job and we are left with an ongoing liability. Think I'd rather see my money go to education, improving local transportation systems (CalTrain, BART, etc.), sustainable energy sources, or ????.


Like this comment
Posted by semper vote
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:00 am

The Rail Authority has been strident about bringing HSR up the Peninsula to SF instead of going to SJ, even though one of Amtrak's top busiest routes in the nation is San Jose to Sacramento.

What would HSR cost if it went from LA to SJ? Worry about extending it to San Diego and SF later, after it's viability as a cross-state mode of transportation is established. If the LA to SJ line brings customers to Cal Train, at some point, it will be improved. Rail Authority has argued it's HSR to SF or nothing, that no one would bother taking a train if it was just LA to SJ. THAT is what turned THIS VOTER against the Rail Authority.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2011 at 8:29 am

What ever you call yourselves, the strident voices against HSR are, unfortunately, winning here. I'm sure there were folks who thought the Golden Gate Bridge would ruin their view, but fortunately, they didn't prevail. It's a huge loss to all of us. Enjoy those wretched flights to LA.


Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Meadow Park
on Dec 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

Hello, its not our fault that HSR is dead! Point to the inept HSR authority. It was their way or no way! Which I think was on purpose, so the con could continue. We took it seriously and wasted time with the route etc,. instead of looking behind the curtain.

There was never a high speed rail. It is/was/will be a con.

We are being taken. Just like the con comes back to the mark for more. Just a sophisticated nigerian email con.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2011 at 11:05 am

@ Observer:

"Wretched flights to LA?" As opposed to an incredibly expensive, slower and less safe ride to LA?

:-\


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 7, 2011 at 12:33 pm

Yeah, Nayeli, we should probably shut down the Pacific Surfliner route while we're at it, because there are flights available between San Diego and LA. Its not like anyone is going to choose a 2.5+ hour train ride when there is a 45 minute flight available.


Like this comment
Posted by peninsula commuter
a resident of another community
on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I'm not at all surprised that public opinion has turned against HSR. At $100 Billion and climbing, this project has the makings of a first-class *BOONDOGGLE*. Why should we foot the enormous price tag for a two-hour train trip to LA, when one can fly there in 1-1/2 hours using the existing airport infrastructure?
I'm also skeptical of HSR claims of environmental benefits. HSR will require a huge construction effort over many years, resulting in huge CO2 emissions. And despite the silly publicity pictures of trains with windmills in the background, the electric trains will be powered by grid electricity which will be at best 33% renewable (or 66% non-renewable). The public is wising up to the misrepresentation.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 7, 2011 at 1:22 pm

@ Robert:

No one is going to shut down that old Pacific Surfliner route. Thus, the ~7000 riders who use it will still enjoy their little taste of nostalgia.

BTW, didn't they have an episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY about that train? It was pretty funny.

Besides, the Pacific Surfliner is quite a different mission than the proposed HSR. It serves coastal town without interstate access and with no major airports.

And, of course, it is one of the more profitable lines for Amtrak. Besides, Amtrak would have dissolved long ago if it had not been for bankruptcies and enormous government subsidies.

I have a feeling that, if the HSR was built, the same would be true for this boondoggle. I just don't believe that there is enough demand between San Jose and Los Angeles each year to justify $100 Billion. Remember: Even if the rail was built, people would still have to choose that method of transportation over air, car, bus and even older trains.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 9:45 am

Uh, train travel is one of the most energy efficient forms of travel. A flight to LA does not take 1.5 hours. You have to factor in the extra time for security measures. Airline travel uses an enormous amount of energy. This is why it keeps getting less comfortable, less convenient, and more expensive. HSR, while perhaps not offered in the right manner at this time, could have been steered into a positive, efficient, cost effective project. Instead, we have all these provincial, nimby naysayers out here screaming against it because their own personal home might have been affected. I'm sure the Paris and London undergrounds also came under similar criticism by the backwards and self interested. I'm sure they also had profiteers involved along the way. But millions have benefited for many years because it was the right thing to do. Here, inertia is winning. What a shame for all of us and those who follow us.


Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2011 at 12:24 pm

What's more common, people calling opponents NIMBYs or the use of the word "boondoggle" by the opponents? Obviously it's the term boondoggle, which you will find sprinkled in the comments of every article related to HSR. Give credit to the anti-HSR crowd for staying on message.

There seems to be a strong desire by opponents to have a re-vote, because the original vote didn't go the way they wanted. And if they can't get an immediate re-vote, they can certainly tie the process up with litigation while the price soars as in inevitably would. Then they can point to that price tag and further their argument.

Jobs? Most of us around here have them, so let everyone else fend for themselves. Don't look for any support from Palo Alto, Menlo Park or Atherton in terms of job creation related to this project. In this economy, it seems selfish...probably because it is.

Besides, you can just fly there. That's a reasonable option for everyone who can afford it. I mean who CAN'T afford it!?! People who shouldn't travel or should use a car I guess. That's their problem. If they want to get to L.A. faster, they should make more money, or buy their tickets months in advance during a sale.

Plus nobody is going to ride HSR anyways. I see that all the time in the comment sections of these articles. It is said the ridership is over-estimated, that the trains will lack customers. I'm not sure how this conclusion is reached, but apparently it is a rock solid fact.

So good work HSR opponents. Your stall tactics appear to have worked, and have nearly killed this project voted on by the citizens of our large state. Your money and influence has proven to be more powerful than a state-wide vote. Let it be a lesson to us all.


Like this comment
Posted by Paul Losch
a resident of Community Center
on Dec 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm

I have weighed in on matters HSR on various dimensions over the last few years. I voted against it in the 2008 proposition. I have enumerated all sorts of reasons why this does not make sense, as have many others.

Most of my working career in business has challenged me to understand who the customer is for the product/service we are offering. HSR tries to justify its reason for being as the ridership.

So what is the compelling reason for a traveler to choose HSR between Northern and Southern California? As best as I can tell, this conversation has not even taken place. From a marketing person's perspective, the current options of air and road travel will not be be improved by this HSR alternative.

If it is a free market with unfettered competition, in 2033, when the thing is fully built, it may still be a failure.




Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

As near as I can tell, the last time I took the train between London and Paris, it was full. The last time I drove to LA, the traffic was terrible and the grapevine treacherous and full of smog. The last time I flew to southern CA it took four hours, and the plane was overbooked. Yes, sitting at your laptop, it might be hard for you to imagine the many many folks who need to travel between Northern and Southern CA and need a better option. But anyone who gets out there and does it can tell a lot nearer.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm

@ Observer:

Funny, I flew to L.A. last year. It took just over an hour. Yes, I had to get to the airport 30-45 minutes earlier (for security), but I am assuming that HSR would have just as stringent security boarding measures.

Like Paul Losch said, what makes people believe that a large percentage of travelers would choose a train over air/car travel? Most of the few times that I have gone to Los Angeles, I drove the entire way. Why? Not only was it less expensive, but I also had my own vehicle for the entire trip.

I suppose that the people who would argue the most for this $100 Billion train from San Jose to L.A. are those who plan on using it often. Still, people must pay for tickets in addition to the $100 Billion cost to build it. If those tickets are about the same (or, more likely, more expensive) as an airline ticket, I suspect that most people will continue to utilize the same methods that they do now.

And, of course, newer passenger jets are increasing the number of passengers that can travel per flight and improving fuel efficiency too.


Like this comment
Posted by Robert
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm

@Nayeli

Yes, we understand that you hate trains. But, if you believe no one is going to choose to ride a train, why do more people ride the train between LA and San Diego than fly? Especially if it can take up to 3x as long?


Like this comment
Posted by Craig Laughton
a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

Amtrak goes to LA most days. Anybody can jump on at San Jose. I have taken it a couple of times...had a great time. Just need to be patient. If anyone wants to get there faster, just get on a charter bus, fly or drive a car (carpool?).

HSR is a disaster is so many ways. I agree with Paul Losch. Stick a fork in it!


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

@ Robert:

I didn't say that I "hate trains." In fact, I like them quite a bit. My husband and I take our visiting family members to the Roaring Camp trains because we think that they're fun.

However, there is a difference between a "train" and a $100 Billion train that some pretend would solve the worlds ecological and transportation problems for the next century. A few months ago, someone was talking about the "car problem" that would be fixed by this project.

Like you mentioned, there are already trains between Los Angeles and California destination. Today, you mentioned the one between San Diego. Previously, you mentioned the Pacific Surfliner. I mentioned that no one will shut down that train (one of the few truly profitable for Amtrak). However, I also mentioned that only 7000 people ride that line. How many people do you think FLY to or from Los Angeles per day?

The point?

I haven't seen a study that considers a viable estimate of daily ridership on this $100 Billion train. We know how many people fly. We know how many people drive. We know how many people take buses or regular trains. However, we just don't know how many of those people would choose to ride the $100 Billion train in 25 years.

So, in addition to the enormous up-front cost, we don't know how viable the actual return on that investment would be.

However, I am not alone with my concerns. This is a HUGE project that is much more expensive than initial estimates prior to the 2008 vote. That is why a 2-1 majority want to put this up to another vote.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Naysayer, er Nayeli, It doesn't matter how many times you say 100 billion, it won't make your argument any less provincial or backward. Airplanes will never be as efficient as trains, even if you build 100 billion zillion of 'em. BTW, it's 'as', not 'like'.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm

@ Obstinate, er, Observer:

(Two can play the childish "name game")

The $100 Billion is EXACTLY the point. If a HSR between San Jose and Los Angeles was going to cost $10 Billion -- or even $25 Billion -- there would probably be much more support for it. However, we are talking about $100 Billion. This is too much money for a state that is perpetually operating in the red.

As for my use of the phrase "Like I said:" I apologize for the grammar error in this online comments section. English isn't my first language; and, I sometimes regress during less formal conversations.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:06 pm

Again, a grownup approach would be to negotiate for a better plan with a more reasonable budget rather than to keep pounding the table with catch phrases and nonsense claims.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 8, 2011 at 10:44 pm

@ Observer:

A "grownup approach" at such discussions would probably be more attainable if they weren't accompanied by childish name-calling.

Besides, the $100 Billion figure is NOT a "catch phrase" or a "nonsense claim." In fact, it is the very central premise of the debate.

Fewer people would oppose the proposed HSR if the cost was more reasonable.

And, of course, the current proposal hardly resembles what the slight majority of voters approved in 2008.

This is exactly why the poll indicates a 2-1 desire for a re-vote.


Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of South of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:14 am

'Nayeli', What's childish is trying to crush something that would be good for everyone, simply because it might not be good for your own personal property, while chanting numbers and phrases that are and have always been estimates, rather than pitching in to work for a solution that is best for all. If you and the other strident, unreasonable, self interested objecters would work toward a positive outcome instead of this mindless indirection, we'd be so much better off.


Like this comment
Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 8:55 am

@ Observer:

No one is trying to "crush" something that you claim with be good for "everyone" (*the "everyone" who will pay for it and the much smaller everyone who will ride it).

Rather, the 2-1 majority that you just called "childish" simply realize that this current plan is NOT what was voted upon in 2008 and want this to be put up for another vote.

BTW, I do NOT own -- and cannot afford -- property in California. Moreover, I have not been "chanting numbers and phrases." I am just pointing out the most important factor in the discussion. That $100 Billion price tag for a fast train from San Jose to Los Angeles is the central issue here.

The reason that I haven't pitched a "solution" is because I don't necessarily see a pressing "problem." I suppose that, if people truly believed that there was a dire need for such a method of transportation, then the State would need to solicit a means to build it at a much lower cost.

I would love to drive a Tesla. I know that it would potentially be better for the environment. It would save us money in gasoline. However, our family can't afford a Tesla. In fact, we couldn't afford the purchase of a Toyota Prius at this point in time. However, if the price of the upcoming Tesla sedan was more reasonable, we would certainly consider such a purchase.

Similarly, if this project had not ballooned to such a lofty sum of money with a 25 year completion estimate, I suspect that more people would be supportive of it. However, this thing passed with a slight majority of votes in 2008.

Why would anyone think that people should not rethink the HSR after the project ballooned in both price and time? And, of course, the fear is that this project will continue to increase in price (like many other public work projects in California).

Call us "unreasonable" all you want. Imply that we are "self interested" all you want. Insinuate that we are hoping for a "negative outcome" with "mindless indirection" to your heart's desire.

However, the truth is much more simplistic than what you suggest:
This is NOT what people signed up for in 2008 and voters by a wide margin would like it to be put up to a vote again.


Like this comment
Posted by Midtown Guy
a resident of Monroe Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 10:48 am

Put the money into BART AROUND THE BAY!!!


Like this comment
Posted by P.A. Native
a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2011 at 11:43 am

@ Nayeli,

Why should a majority opinion be the deciding factor now? Because it's the one that you prefer?

Good grief.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:24 pm

@ P.A.Native:

I don't know; but, maybe it is because this is still a DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC?

This isn't just what I prefer. This is about what a 2-1 majority of California residents prefer.

Collectively, a sizable majority thinks that this particular plan is NOT in the best interest of the state as a whole.


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Posted by Former Steve
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Dec 9, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Folks,

Voting again to stop HSR is certainly available if some on here want to do the work, instead of whining for others to do it. Californians qualify initiatives for the ballot like nobody else anyway.

The question isn't whether HSR is a good deal now, it isn't. Just because it is not a good deal, does not mean it is not a good IDEA!

One of the reasons cost and time have gone so crazy is that folks on the Peninsula only want it if it has no effect on them, at a cost to us all.

We don't have BART around the bay EXACTLY because leaders of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties did not think it was a good deal for them 50 years ago.


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Posted by pat
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Nayeli, it's usually best to ignore the trolls, but I’ll chime in on this one.

Observer says it’s childish to “crush something that would be good for everyone… while chanting numbers and phrases that are and have always been estimates, …”

By what measure would HSR be good for everyone? Most people would never ride it, but as Nayeli points out, it would “cost every man, woman, elderly resident, child and baby nearly $3000 just to construct it.”

As for the chanted numbers and phrases that have always been estimates, that’s the very reason so many are opposed.

Those are PR chants you hear from firms that have already been paid over $12M to make us believe the unrealistic estimates of cost, ridership and returns – all of which have been proven false with each successive report.

Meanwhile, there’s got to be an antonym for NIMBY, worn out from overuse in ad hominem arguments. How about TASBEMs for There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute?


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Posted by Scholar
a resident of Menlo Park
on Dec 9, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I'd like a high speed rail from my house to BevMo


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Posted by Robert A. Heinlein
a resident of another community
on Dec 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm

TANSTAAFL ("There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch")


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Nayeli, Paul and others.

Will you continue your views when there are tolls on I5? The modern tolls by means of fastrack similar to the toll lanes on freeways on the East Bay and LA area, are a very strong possibility. If you think the laws won't change or that California voters won't vote for toll lanes, then you are stuck in 20th century methodology.


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Posted by Nayeli
a resident of Midtown
on Dec 9, 2011 at 5:46 pm

@ Resident:

What makes you think that California would start collecting tolls on federally funded interstates?

Web Link

If California was forced to add a toll on an INTERSTATE HIGHWAY, then there is something irreparably wrong with Sacramento.

Other large states with much lower tax revenue (in total and per capita burden) -- like Texas or Alaska -- don't stoop to collecting "tolls" on existing federally-funded interstates.

So, I can't understand the rationale behind your post.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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