Simitianís High Speed Rail Hearing
Original post made by Paul Losch on Mar 14, 2012
Enough is enough.
I went to the hearing Tuesday, March 13, at the MV performing arts center. The place was SRO, absolutely packed. Clearly there is a great deal of passion about this matter, no matter what point of view one has.
I heard nothing last night that changed my mind that this is a bad idea. Lots of "polishing" you know what.
For starters, it appears that the very civil new management for CHSRA, including Dan Richard, have a very different point of view about how this thing should/could be built out than does the very civil Mr. Kempton, from the High Speed Rail Peer Review.
One wants to start in the Central Valley with track to nowhere, lacking HSR capability. The other advocates first making improvements at the "bookends" of LA and the Bay Area. Talk about a huge disconnect.
There remain huge questions about funding, which were for the most part artfully dodged, with allusions to days gone by about how the UC system was developed, the interstate highway system came about, inter alia. The fact is at best 15% of the cost of the $98 billion proposal has been identified.
To make matters worse, it appears that some of the available federal funds only will be available only if they are applied to an HSR spur in the Central Valley. Those funds, if I correctly understood last night's testimony, cannot be used for improvements at the "bookends" of NORCAL and SOCAL. Is CHSRA advocating a central valley place to start just so they can get the federal funds? It sure looked that way to me in last night's hearings.
My closing observation about this entire matter is that too many people in responsible positions continue struggling to somehow squeeze life out of this ill-conceived project. (e.g., the mantra "blended system" has been bandied about for months now, and it was not made clear at this hearing how it will "really" work.)
This is a project that has gotten more second chances that most of us get in a lifetime. Try and try, it continues to not pass muster. Voters were mis-led in the 2008 ballot initiative, clearly a "bait and switch." Get it back on the ballot, and it will go down in flames. (I suppose that is a bad analogy, since it alludes to aircraft. How about get it back on the ballot, and it will be off the rails!)
CHSRA releases a revised business plan in the coming weeks, ostensibly an improvement over prior plans by prior "regimes." A revised business plan does not mean that is a business plan that justifies funding.
Rather than taking it to the State Capitol for review, I suggest they try out their pitch on Sand Hill Road, with the venture capital community. They may as a courtesy get a first pitch meeting. There never will be a second meeting, let alone private funding participation in this beast.
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:00 am
Paul Losch's comments seem reasonable and rational. Simitian should get off the fence and do something to terminate this project. It is clear that the project has been poorly thought out, and after all of this time, no credible business plan has been developed.
If it can be terminated by the Legislature, Simitian should get that ball rolling. If it takes another vote on a state-wide ballot question, then Simitian should get that ball rolling.
Enough is enough. When is Simitian going to get that message and do something meaningful?
on Mar 15, 2012 at 10:51 am
". If it takes another vote on a state-wide ballot question, then Simitian should get that ball rolling."
Have you, or Paul, signed the petition yet? It is a bit of a cop out to rely on Simitian to take action, unless you are willing to make a minimal commitment. I have obtained 8 signatures, and have sent them in. It is called democracy in action.
Here is the petition:
on Mar 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm
Paul Losch is a registered user.
Thanks for the link to the petition.
The strategic political question is does this need to be stopped by a vote of the people, or can those we have elected to office have figured it out and can end it in Sacramento, without going to the expense of a ballot initiative.
I will sign the petition, with the fervent hope that it never gets on the ballot because our elected officials, after numerous hearings and discussions, end this CAHSR concept.