"The obvious comparison people make is: 'They do it in Europe, why can't they do it here?'" said Ken Briers, a board member National Association of Railroad Passengers.
"The answer is: Their governments spend the money on this, and ours does not," he said. "Europeans pay a lot more than we do in taxes, but they get free health care and trains that run every hour."
We want to return to Baltimore's infrastructure because lots of critical policies are being installed that if left unchecked will be hard to reverse. Today we look at the rail system across Maryland and through Baltimore with the vision of a FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE AND PORT OF BALTIMORE as an independent global economic zone with huge industrial presence and lots of global cargo ----whether natural resources or manufacturing products coming through Maryland to our global Foreign Economic Zone port. I think citizens understood the designation ----the control of the port assigned to a Chinese-registered global corporation-----and we talked about the possibility that the RED LINE may not have been a rail project but a way to use eminent domain to build infrastructure pipeline through Maryland to/from a Port of Baltimore.
The statement below speaks to this transition as what has been a rail tunnel used for rail cargo and public transit is now being moved to being strictly cargo----enlarged for more cargo uses----including rail cargo of hazardous materials and yes, Penn Station and this tunnel is right under the most populated of communities. Remember---the 1% have the mega-mansions and sprawling green real estate posing as farms outside of Baltimore City line-----they could care less if an explosion took out a city block-----that means more development and construction revenue.
WHEN WE ALLOW THE GLOBAL 1% TO CONTROL ALL OUR DEVELOPMENT---THEY HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO CARE ABOUT THE NEEDS OF WE THE PEOPLE. THAT IS HOW THESE US CITIES DEEMED FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES ARE BEING ALLOWED TO BE DEVELOPED.
So, Obama and Clinton neo-liberals pushed super-high speed rail making the US seem like Luddites for not doing this sooner. Here is Hogan as a Bush/Johns Hopkins Wall Street global corporate neo-con pushing these same policies. High speed rail taking citizens from one global Foreign Economic Zone to another -----not US cities but FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONES----will have a transportation system that bypasses all of our rural and city life on a separate plane elevated above ground. As someone using public transit for decades and this route from Washington DC and BAltimore ---the MARC commuter train---I am shouting that what Clinton/Obama/O'Malley/Hogan are designing has nothing to do with moving WE THE PEOPLE. It has only to do with moving a global 1% and their 2% with our public commuter rail---MARC dismantled. It is already struggling from defunding and deregulation----no oversight and accountability. This high-speed line will POSE PROGRESSIVE at first with a rate affordable to many----then that rate will climb out of reach especially as Trans Pacific Trade Pact takes US wages to third world global sweat shop levels.
'If a developer's vision of a separate, magnetic levitation train between Baltimore and Washington, supported by Gov. Larry Hogan, becomes a reality, Epple wrote, it could poach passengers from Amtrak, leaving the tunnel to take on more freight traffic. Hazardous materials such as nuclear fuel traveling under her neighborhood are another cause for concern, as are the toxins released from diesel engines, she said'.
There is no problem in fixing bottle-necks for example. The problem comes when these rails are laid ----FOR WHAT KINDS OF TRANSIT? If only high-speed and cargo----which is what is happening---how do we have our public commuter rails?
For faster train travel, Amtrak wants to fix railway bottlenecks in Maryland
Photos of the Amtrak Bridge spanning the Susquehanna River between Havre de Grace and Perryville.
Colin CampbellContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
For faster train travel, Amtrak wants to fix its Northeast Corridor bottlenecks in Maryland.As Amtrak trains whisk passengers hundreds of miles along the East Coast between Boston and Washington, they're forced to slow down at four pinch points in Maryland, where ancient railroad infrastructure can't accommodate the high speeds and capacity of modern train technology.
Officials have begun planning to fix two of the bottlenecks, the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge, which opened 110 years ago, and the even older Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel, built under the city in the decade after the Civil War.
Eliminating those choke points would speed up travel along the Northeast Corridor, officials say, bringing Amtrak closer to its goal: a two-hour trip between New York and Washington.
Paying for it, however, is another issue.
While Congress has funded the relatively inexpensive planning studies, replacing the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge project could take up to a decade and cost between $800 million and $1 billion, according to Amtrak estimates. The B&P Tunnel is a $4 billion project. Neither has been funded for construction.
Final design unveiled for replacement Susquehanna River Rail Bridge
The other two aging pinch points, the Gunpowder River Bridge between Chase and Joppa, and the Bush River Bridge between Edgewood and Perryman, have not received money to be studied, said Paul DelSignore, senior director for structures at Amtrak.
Amtrak faces a construction backlog of at least $28 billion, according to a capital investment plan published last month by the Northeast Corridor Commission, a group of state, federal and other stakeholders.
The studies alone take years and cost tens of millions of dollars.
The Maryland Department of Transportation is overseeing the B&P Tunnel and the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge projects, but the federal government is expected to foot most of the bill because of the cost and the impact on the overall corridor, said Bradley Smith, the state's director of freight and multimodalism.
Residents express concern about proposed train tunnel in West Baltimore
"Those two are referred to as major backlog projects," Smith said. "Finding funding at those levels will be challenging, but also we realize the significance of these projects, and we hope that the federal government does as well."
The state and freight train companies that also use the tracks, such as CSX and Norfolk Southern, also could be asked to contribute, he said.
Federal construction money is uncertain, but the state is forging ahead with the preliminary studies to ensure both projects are ready to go.
"All eyes are on these projects," said Jacqueline Thorne, the project manager for the state. "The Northeast Corridor is a top priority. ... We don't want Maryland to continue to be the choke point."
The projects will have to vie for funding with the multibillion-dollar Gateway project to update century-old rail tunnels under the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey.
Amtrak initially slated the two Maryland projects for completion by 2025, but it'll likely be closer to 2040, DelSignore said.
"They haven't gotten off the ground yet," he said.
Congress has been reluctant to allocate additional taxpayer money to Amtrak, especially given that the government-owned passenger railroad is subsidized already and isn't profitable.
"The obvious comparison people make is: 'They do it in Europe, why can't they do it here?'" said Ken Briers, a board member National Association of Railroad Passengers.
"The answer is: Their governments spend the money on this, and ours does not," he said. "Europeans pay a lot more than we do in taxes, but they get free health care and trains that run every hour."
Briers, a retired locomotive engineer and operations analyst, said passenger demand exists for faster trains and more capacity. In Baltimore, he said, trains heading both north and south from Pennsylvania Station are so crowded it can be tough to find a seat and nearly impossible to find two together.
Opening up the bottlenecks in the Northeast Corridor would allow for more trains, he said, which are an increasingly popular option, particularly with millennials.
At the Susquehanna River Rail Bridge, which connects Havre de Grace and Perryville, the 88 Amtrak trains that cross it daily must slow from up to 160 mph to 90 mph to cross the roughly three-quarter-mile span safely. Amtrak shares the bridge with plodding Norfolk Southern freight trains, which can exacerbate the congestion.
When it was built in 1906 by the Pennsylvania Railroad, the bridge was a replacement project itself. The concrete piers of the original, Civil War-era bridge are still visible in the water next to it. The plans for a new bridge include removing those piers and building it there.
Once that bridge is built, the current one would be replaced, creating two parallel, two-track bridges, which would allow Amtrak and Norfolk Southern to use separate tracks and reduce congestion.
While the bridge passed its most recent inspections and remains safe, officials say, it is nearing the end of its usable life.
Perryville and Havre de Grace residents know the bridge needs to be replaced; their biggest concern is how the new one will look.
The Susquehanna River Rail Bridge Advisory Committee, created in 2014 by Havre de Grace Mayor Wayne H. Dougherty and the City Council, has met several times with Amtrak and state transportation officials and issued 20 advisories with recommendations for the bridge, including color and lighting.
"The overall appearance of the proposed Susquehanna River Rail Bridge is of the highest priority of importance to the Town of Perryville, City of Havre de Grace, surrounding communities, both counties, and the State of Maryland," the group wrote in one advisory.
The committee includes a professional engineer, a retired judge and a public safety expert, among others, who offer insightful input into the process, said committee Chairman Volney H. Ford.
The group also has examined the impact of the bridge landings on both sides, which feature historic sites, parks and waterfront views, said Ford, who is also chairman of the Havre de Grace city planning committee.
The city's long-term goal is to build a MARC commuter station, Ford said. The bridge advisory committee asked Amtrak to spread the tracks out enough as they are reinstalled to accommodate a station in the future.
"We're right on top of every little detail," he said.
Residents of West Baltimore outright oppose plans to replace the 1.4-mile B&P Tunnel, worrying that the trains passing under their homes would shake foundations and cause more pollution.
The sharp curves of the existing tunnel force trains to slow to a crawl under the city. The more sweeping arc of the proposed tunnel under Reservoir Hill would allow Amtrak trains to double the current speed.
Officials have sought to work with neighborhood groups. They reconfigured the tunnel renovations to displace fewer residents — 17 instead of the initially planned 41 — and relocated a proposed air-vent facility away from a community garden.
While Kathy Epple, president of a group called Residents Against the Tunnels, supports an improved Northeast Corridor, she has a slew of concerns about the B&P project. Vibrations from the trains could damage her 121-year-old, brick-and-plaster rowhouse on Eutaw Place, she wrote in a letter of testimony in February.
If a developer's vision of a separate, magnetic levitation train between Baltimore and Washington, supported by Gov. Larry Hogan, becomes a reality, Epple wrote, it could poach passengers from Amtrak, leaving the tunnel to take on more freight traffic. Hazardous materials such as nuclear fuel traveling under her neighborhood are another cause for concern, as are the toxins released from diesel engines, she said.
"I believe it is wrong to expose highly populated areas to these dangers," she wrote.
In a $1 million report to Congress in 2005, the Federal Railroad Administration called Baltimore's section of the Northeast Corridor "convoluted and antiquated."
Despite some improvements, the rail network "is essentially the same as the geometrically compromised and operationally handicapped system cobbled together during the post-Civil War decades," the FRA wrote.
The updates to the tunnel and the bridge still wouldn't put the U.S. on level footing with Asian and European countries that have better invested in their railroads for decades, DelSignore said, but they would be an incremental step up.
"It gives higher speed rail to America," he said. "Increased speed and capacity of the Northeast Corridor is good for the general economics of the corridor."
When I read the article below----where Morrell Park community wins over a densely populated city center of Baltimore City for pathway of these cargo rail tunnels and transit centers one wonders why a Morrell Park with almost all population being businesses and a small family population wins over the opposite for the Baltimore City route.
Again we must think what Baltimore's city center as a US Foreign Economic Zone will look like. I shouted against what is university housing as the only affordable housing because------student populations are transient-----so too are global corporate campuses and global factory labor pool. Everything in this Greater Baltimore region is slated to be TRANSIENT. Global executives flying into Harbor Point or Port Covington-----staying as global tourism/business. What is today city center communities will simply be real estate bought by the global rich as second or temporary housing -------not permanent residential communities.
In full disclosure I am biased because I live right on top of this current rail tunnel system----and would want to stay as long as possible----but the noise of rail transit right now is pretty loud for homes surrounding these tunnels---think what they will be like if these plans go through. They are not planning good communities for public interest---
'Baltimore where trucks could bring containers from the port to be loaded on double-stack trains. But the state pulled the plug on funding in 2014 for a potential terminal in Morrell Park amid intense opposition from the community'.
'The construction would lower the tunnel's floor in places, raise the ceiling elsewhere, sometimes do both. The plan also would improve clearances where the rail line passes beneath at least nine bridges beyond the tunnel as it cuts through Remington and Charles Village and across East Baltimore to port terminals'.
Maryland seeks $155 million from feds to clear freight bottleneck beneath Baltimore
Tim PrudenteContact Reporter
The Baltimore Sun
Maryland and CSX devise plan to resolve freight bottleneck beneath Baltimore.
The state and the railroad CSX Transportation have agreed to a plan to remove a bottleneck for freight shipping beneath the streets of Baltimore and have requested $155 million in federal funding to help pay for the project they say will boost the Maryland economy.
State and railroad officials have pledged to contribute $270 million toward expanding the 1.7-mile Howard Street Tunnel. The additional clearance would allow shipping containers from the port of Baltimore, for the first time, to be stacked two-high atop trains, a far more efficient way to move them.
"This is going to be transformative," said Louis Renjel, vice president for strategic infrastructure at Jacksonville, Fla.-based CSX. "If you think about the port of Baltimore ... it's got deep water and on-dock rail service. The last piece of the puzzle to be the most competitive that you can be is that double-stack rail. When Baltimore has those three pieces, they're really going to be positioned well for the future."
The port of Baltimore fell behind other East Coast ports in recent decades in part due to the difficulty of shipping containers out of the port's terminals by rail.
The Howard Street Tunnel, built in the 1890s by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, a predecessor of CSX, has been the culprit. Officials have grappled with how to expand the tunnel beneath the heart of the city for years.
City Council wants health study of transporting oil by train through Baltimore
About 1.5 feet more of clearance is needed to fit the stacked containers and expand the tunnel, about 19.5 to 21 feet. The work was previously estimated to cost between $1 billion and $3 billion and require Howard Street to be shut down during construction.
"That, obviously, would be immensely disruptive to the city and arguably infeasible," Renjel said.
As an alternative, the state sought a site for a CSX rail terminal south of Baltimore where trucks could bring containers from the port to be loaded on double-stack trains. But the state pulled the plug on funding in 2014 for a potential terminal in Morrell Park amid intense opposition from the community.
Baltimore, CSX reach $1.2 million settlement in E. 26th Street collapse
The decision left state transportation and railroad officials scrambling for an alternative and planners turned their attention back to the tunnel.
Recent advances in engineering now make it possible to increase the tunnel's clearances with much of the construction underground and for much less money, Renjel said.
"We're underground the whole time — that was a game changer," he said.
The project's cost plunged to an estimated $425 million. The state Department of Transportation and CSX would pay about 60 percent.
"While the figure is more manageable than earlier estimates, limited financial resources and competing funding needs prevent MDOT and CSX from funding the project entirely on our own," wrote Maryland Secretary of Transportation Pete Rahn in the application letter for federal funds dated Wednesday.
The state is seeking part of $800 million in grant funding available from the U.S. Department of Transportation's FASTLANE program. The deadline for the grants was Thursday.
The program aims to fund critical freight and highway projects around the country. Twenty-five percent of the money is reserved for rural projects, while 10 percent is promised for smaller projects. It was not clear Thursday evening how many applicants applied. Recipients are expected to be announced this summer.
The Howard Street Tunnel goes underground between M&T Bank Stadium and Camden Yards and runs straight underneath the downtown street before emerging near Mount Royal Avenue.
The construction would lower the tunnel's floor in places, raise the ceiling elsewhere, sometimes do both. The plan also would improve clearances where the rail line passes beneath at least nine bridges beyond the tunnel as it cuts through Remington and Charles Village and across East Baltimore to port terminals.
In an April 12 letter of support, Gov. Larry Hogan cited federal studies that predict freight shipping will increase 45 percent by 2040.
"Therefore, double-stack clearance routes, such as the one proposed by this project, are critical for the country to prepare for the expected increase in freight demand over the coming decades," Hogan wrote in the letter to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. "However, the nation will not be fully prepared until the Howard Street tunnel bottleneck is addressed."
If approved, the project would position the port of Baltimore to benefit from growing demand for freight shipping, especially after the opening later this year of an expanded Panama Canal.
An expanded tunnel would divert more than 3.6 million truck trips from the highways as their cargo was moved by train, Renjel said.
"That has a really significant impact on congestion up and down the I-95 corridor," he said.
Similarly, Rahn wrote that the Howard Street tunnel has been identified in studies as the single greatest impediment to double-stack rail service in the Interstate 95 corridor.
If approved, officials expect planning and permitting to take about two years. Construction could begin in fall of 2018 and be completed by 2023, said Erin Henson, an MDOT spokeswoman.
As part of the same application, the state has asked for $76.1 million to help pay for infrastructure in Port Covington, where Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank's private development company plans a large mixed-use development. The Maryland Transportation Authority agreed to put $33 million in state money toward that project, which involves making changes to Interstate 95 exits and other roads in the area as well as a nearby rail line.
Henson said she did not believe the two projects would compete against each other for the money.
"We very much see both of these as one project that's going to enhance the infrastructure and economic development of Baltimore City," she said.
Obama and Clinton neo-liberals came to a super-majority in 2009 elected because Obama ran as a left-leaning social Democrat against what everyone knew was far-right Reagan/Clinton Wall Street neo-liberalism. WE THE PEOPLE wanted to return to social benefit funding from our Federal government and justice from massive fraud and corruption. We saw of course immediately that Obama lied and was continuing the CLINTON/BUSH agenda of ONE WORLD ONE GOVERNANCE. In the midst of a majority of American people losing their wealth---losing their homes-----Obama wanted to push HIGH-SPEED RAIL.
Since this article in 2015 we are seeing all kinds of outsourced corporate fraud and overruns that as usual will double the costs of building these high-speed rail structures. CA and TX as the two earliest to move to ONE WORLD FOREIGN ECONOMIC ZONE policies are of course the first to MOVE FORWARD with what will indeed replace our highways -----as the rich travel on rail and 99% of Americans trapped on global corporate campuses earning $3-6 a day or $20-30 a day for professionals working 15 hours a day----
WHERE WILL THEY BE GOING BESIDES TO FARM THEIR OWN FOOD AND THEN TO BED.
“It shows there is a future for high-speed rail in the U.S.,” he said. “It needs to be in areas where there is proven ridership numbers and proven routes and speeds. California has no proven ridership numbers, and they continue to blow through deadlines."
Texas is of course completely privatized to global corporations. I think their governance is like Baltimore----a global corporate plantation where citizens have no voice in public policy. If we remember the goal of ONE WORLD-----the Clinton/Bush/Obama goal of ONE WORLD ONE WESTERN HEMISPHERE-----where nations in North, Central, and South America are brought together as one nation-----area bigger than China....then we can see where Texas is building its high-speed rail as a leg to NORTH AND SOUTH-----from Canada to Cape Horn.
Folks thinking this is Obama's legacy need to understand Obama is simply MOVING FORWARD global 1% Wall Street policies written a few decades ago----it is not his policy.
Baltimore is controlled by a very, very, very, very neo-conservative Bush/Johns Hopkins and its policies always look like Texas under Bush.
Home | Policy | Transportation
Obama's proposed high-speed rail network stuck in station
By Keith Laing - 12/20/15 02:30 PM EST
President Obama is entering his final year in office with one of his most ambitious first-term promises — a nationwide network of high speed railways — largely unfilled.
Obama spoke frequently in his first term about developing the network.
He imagined a U.S. rail system that would rival the interstate highway system, citing similar train systems in European countries that are widely popular.Obama included $8 billion in his 2009 economic stimulus package to jump-start the high-speed rail program in the U.S.
But seven years later, Obama has little to show for the effort.
His stimulus offer was rebuffed by Republican governors in states including Ohio, Wisconsin and Florida, who rejected the money.
The best chance of a new federally funded railway in is California, but a line there that would link San Francisco, Los Angeles and other major California cities has been beset by delays and funding problems.
Meanwhile, private companies are considering the development of high-speed railways in Texas — and Florida.
A company called All Aboard Florida is planning to open a privately owned high-speed railway between Miami and Orlando in 2018.
“Vacationing, doing business, commuting or otherwise traveling between Orlando and Miami is about to get easier,” the company said of its forthcoming rail service, which covers a part of the route was supposed to be connected to Obama's initial Tampa-to-Orlando proposal.
“All Aboard Florida proudly introduces Brightline, an express train service that will provide state-of-the-art fast, safe, relaxing travel in one of the most populous and visited regions in the United States,” the company continued.
Obama spoke similarly highly of the potential for high-speed rail in the congested Interstate 4 corridor in his first State of the Union address in 2010.
“There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products,” Obama said at the time, citing the ill-fated high-speed railway between Tampa and Orlando that never got built.
“Tomorrow, I'll visit Tampa, Fla., where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act,” Obama continued then. “There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation's goods, services, and information.”
A little over a year later, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) rejected $2.4 billion in federal dollars for the project, citing concerns about the cost of operating the trains once the federal money for construction ran out.
Republicans in Congress have expressed similar concerns about the California high-speed rail project, which has received more than $3 billion in federal dollars.
“Not only do they lack a business plan, but they continue to waste taxpayer dollars without being held accountable,” Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said about the California high-speed rail proposal in an interview with The Hill.
WE KNOW REPUBLICANS ARE AGAINST THIS BECAUSE OF FOSSIL FUEL----NOT COST TO TAXPAYERS.
“They're decades out [from offering passenger service],” continued Denham, who has repeatedly offered legislation to deny additional federal funding for the California project.
Denham said the private sector's interest shows the future for rail is not with the federal government — and likely not for passengers in California.
“It shows there is a future for high-speed rail in the U.S.,” he said. “It needs to be in areas where there is proven ridership numbers and proven routes and speeds. California has no proven ridership numbers, and they continue to blow through deadlines."
Obama administration officials have said they are still bullish on the potential for high-speed rail in the U.S., arguing that the private sector interest shows the wisdom of the president's aggressive push.
“You still see a strong appetite and strong activity for high-speed rail in this country,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx told The Hill on Friday, citing the projects in the Florida, Texas and California. “Inch-by-inch, the country moves closer to seeing high-speed service happen, so I'm very confident that the right things are happening.”
Obama has largely been silent on the fate of his original high-speed rail proposals in recent years, focusing instead on cities that have built cheaper intracity light rail and streetcar systems, such as Minneapolis, Charlotte, Dallas, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.
Foxx has pushed states to take steps to boost speed on existing rail lines outside of Amtrak's Northeast routes. He has also pushed for a proposed route between Richmond, Va., and Raleigh, N.C., that backers believe can be connected to railways that run to Washington.
The transportation secretary said Friday the U.S. will eventually have to increase its use of railways as the nation's population grows, whether the federal government or private companies are picking up the bill for construction.
“We can't have the kind of mobility all of us are used with a road-dependent transportation system,” he said. “We always will need roads. Roads are critically important. But America needs a multi-modal approach to transportation and intercity passenger rail is a critical part of that.”
All Aboard Florida is betting that the Obama administration is right about the viability of high-speed rail in places like the Sunshine State, which remain car-dependent.
“Driving from Miami to Orlando takes about four hours,” the company said. “All Aboard Florida's Brightline train will allow passengers to cover that same distance in about three hours — while reading, relaxing or simply enjoying a more productive way to travel.”
A company called Texas Central Partners is similarly planning to build a high-speed railway between Dallas and Houston it is calling a “transformation project.”
The company has touted the fact that it is not relying on federal funding to construct the railway, which is projected to run on a route that is 240 miles long.
“We are a Texas-based private company, employing a market-led approach. Unlike other high-speed rail projects, we are backed by private investors, not public funds,” the company says in a post on its website.
“Texas Central is developing a new high-speed passenger rail system that will connect Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston using a proven, world-class technology that will provide a travel time of less than 90 minutes.”
Foxx predicted Friday there would be more private companies considering building rail lines in places where it made sense to provide an alternative to auto travel.
“I think as people find themselves in tighter and tighter spaces and congestion gets worse and worse and the task of maintaining the systems we have gets harder and harder, the business case is going to make itself over time,” he said.
“I think the question is how quickly we realize enough to build on the efforts that are already ongoing.”
Highly populated states along the coasts will use public private so the taxpayers have to pay for what will be yet more global corporate owned structures. So, along the East Coast from Washington to NY we will see the same quasi-governmental rail Authorities as California----while global corporations come outright and pay for extensions through low-population states like Nevada and the mid-west.
As Baltimore citizens reel from being tied to municipal bonds that subsidize the building of entire global corporate campuses like UnderArmour-----30 years to build the East Baltimore global Hopkins campus still expanding from the medical campus to the Homewood campus and everything else inbetween-----now we are going to subsidize what will be a transit only the rich will be able to afford---no matter how much they subsidize public transit at first. California has its BART just as Maryland has its MARC PUBLIC RAIL TRANSIT-----and know who will be out of yet another industry? Our state public transit unions. Know who knows that? National and International Labor Union leaders. Know who is pushing all these global Wall Street policies of US cities as Foreign Economic Zones? BILL AND HILLARY CLINTON AND BUSH. Who does most US international labor unions support each election? THE CLINTON WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS killing our national sovereignty, our rights as citizens, our societal structures of developed nation taking us to third world wages and living conditions. Well say labor unions----we get to be subcontractors in laying rail for a few years!
'That was all pie in the sky, a way of selling the deal to voters in 2008. A review in 2011 put ridership at a more realistic 30m passengers a year, with an end-to-end ticket price of $89. Meanwhile, the overall cost of the project had soared to $98 billion. And instead of going into service by the end of the decade, the high-speed railway would not be ready until 2033'.
Taxpayers could pay dearly for California’s high-speed-train dreams
A high-speed train is at least more realistic than Elon Musk's Hyperloop
Mar 27th 2016 | LOS ANGELES | Science and technology
CALIFORNIA’S high-speed railway—the largest public-works programme currently underway in America—overcame a serious challenge on March 25th, which would have taken bonds issued to help pay for the railway and reallocated the money to water projects. Unable to collect enough signatures to put the proposition on next November's ballot, the backers have now postponed the measure for two years. Had it been successful, the proposal would have dealt a death blow to the high-speed rail project by deleting its biggest single source of funding.
That is the second time in recent weeks that the $64 billion high-speed rail project linking Los Angeles to San Francisco has come close to being stopped in its tracks. What promised to be the most serious of a number of law suits threatening to derail the project was thrown out by a superior court in Sacramento on March 8th. There was no evidence, the judge concluded, that the California High-Speed Rail Authority had failed to meet its statutory obligations, as the plaintiffs alleged. The court, nevertheless, left the door open for the case to be reheard at some future date.
The suit brought by Kings County Board of Supervisors and two Central Valley farmers accused the rail authority of violating restrictions imposed by a ballot held in November 2008 (Proposition 1A) that approved a $9.95 billion bond issue to help pay for the high-speed railway. Voters were told at the time that the project would cost no more than $33 billion, with the federal government stumping up $3.2 billion and private investors chipping in the balance. So far, such private investors have been conspicuous by their absence.
According to the Proposition 1A Bond Act, the high-speed rail project has to be financially viable; trains have to operate (without subsidy) every five minutes in either direction during the day; and funds for each segment of the route need to be identified before work on the leg in question can commence. Above all, trains have to make the 520-mile (840-km) journey between the Los Angeles basin and the San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes, reaching speeds of 220 mph (350 kph). As for ridership, the rail authority reckoned some 65m to 96m passengers per year would be travelling the route by 2020. The basic fare was to be $55 one way.
That was all pie in the sky, a way of selling the deal to voters in 2008. A review in 2011 put ridership at a more realistic 30m passengers a year, with an end-to-end ticket price of $89. Meanwhile, the overall cost of the project had soared to $98 billion. And instead of going into service by the end of the decade, the high-speed railway would not be ready until 2033.
The uproar that ensued prompted a shakeup along with some hurried rethinking. The cost was subsequently pegged at around $68 billion for the first phase of the network, with an opening date in 2029—almost a decade later than originally promised. A second phase, involving track extensions to Sacramento in the north and San Diego in the south, would follow if and when money became available. The draft 2016 business plan has now trimmed the cost of the first phase to $64 billion.
While private funds have shown little interest, at least the project’s finances are no longer quite as gloomy as they were a year or so ago. Jerry Brown, California's govenor and a stalwart supporter of the high-speed train, strong-armed the legislature in Sacramento into allocating it 25% of the state’s annual “cap and trade” proceeds from auctioning off carbon credits to big polluters, which are currently worth around $1 billion a year. As a result, the rail authority has now identified the $21 billion required for building the project’s initial leg (San Jose to the Central Valley). It still needs a further $43 billion before it can start work on extending the line north to San Francisco and south towards Los Angeles.
With the rail authority’s finances resolved for the time being, opponents have focused instead on the project’s legal requirement to cover the distance between Los Angeles and San Francisco in two hours and 40 minutes. The rail authority claims (optimistically) that such a time remains doable, though cost-saving measures have forced the high-speed train to share tracks with slower-moving freight and commuter services in the Los Angeles basin and the Bay Area.
What also remains in doubt is just how many people will actually ride the high-speed network. In revising its revenue model, the rail authority has incorporated findings from surveys on rider preferences, along with forecasts of California’s likely population, housing and employment growth. The data were then crunched using Monte Carlo simulations to minimise the risks of being wrong. The analysis suggests that, based on a confidence level of 50%, the service will have some 28m passengers by 2029, generating $1.3 billion of revenue. However, as thorough as this analysis is, unanswered questions remain.
Above all, what is it that California’s railway planners know that their Japanese counterparts do not? The former state-owned Japanese National Railways and its partially privatised regional replacements have struggled for decades to make their high-speed Shinkansen (“bullet train”) routes profitable. Japan’s eight Shinkansen lines have little in the way of competition, thanks to over-crowded roads, expressways that charge exorbitant tolls and limited air services. Even so, only one Shinkansen service—JR Central’s 550-km line between Tokyo and Osaka—makes anything like a decent enough operating surplus to cover its costs, make necessary investments and pay a modest dividend.
It does so for one simple reason: the volume of traffic it carries—some 140m passengers a year. The Tokyo plain (Kanto) is home to 42m people, while greater Osaka (Kansai) has 23m. Between these two huge population centres reside a further 10m people in conurbations like Hamamatsu, Nagoya and Kyoto, all served by the Tokaido Shinkansen. At peak hours, trains leave Tokyo Station bound for Shin-Osaka and beyond on average every four to five minutes, and every seven to eight minutes for the rest of the day. The latest Nozomi (limited stop) service whisks passengers between Tokyo and Osaka in two hours and 22 minutes.
Compare that with California. As sprawling as it is, the Los Angeles basin has a population of just 18m. The nine counties surrounding the Bay Area have a little over 7m residents between them. The farming communities astride the proposed high-speed rail line through the Central Valley have a combined population of around 1m. In short, California’s high-speed railway is attempting to do what the Tokaido Shinkansen does, but with a third of the number of potential passengers, on a route that is half as long again. California’s taxpayers will pay dearly for Mr Brown’s high-speed legacy.
If there are serious doubts hanging over a conventional high-speed train operating at speeds up to 220mph between Los Angeles and San Francisco on conventional electrified track, what then are the prospects for Elon Musk’s proposed 760mph Hyperloop between the two cities? The short answer is probably none. Even so, Mr Musk’s flare for publicity has done much to capture the imagination.
Back in 2013, the billionaire boss of the Tesla electric-car company and the SpaceX rocket developer hit the headlines with a fresh take on the “transplanetary subway” proposed in the 1970s by visionaries at Rand Corporation, a think tank in Santa Monica, California. However, instead of being under the ground, the Hyperloop proposed using a steel tube containing a near-vacuum that would sit on stilts above it. Passenger pods, riding on air-bearings or magnetic fields instead of wheels, would travel inside this air-tight tube, to be laid alongside the Interstate-5 highway between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, at close to the speed of sound, completing the 400-mile journey in little over half an hour. Mr Musk reckoned the Hyperloop could be built for no more than $6 billion—a tenth the cost of the California high-speed train.
Two separate groups have taken him seriously. Hyperloop Technologies (HT), in central Los Angeles, is a typical startup venture, with 30 or so full-time employees and $10m of seed money. By contrast, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT), based on the west side of the same city, is a crowd-sourced community of 450 volunteers scattered around the country, who devote ten hours a week to the project in exchange for stock options.
They are not the only ones mesmerised by the Hyperloop idea. Some 116 student engineering teams, from across America and elsewhere, gathered at Texas A&M University late in January to show off their Hyperloop pod designs in a competition organised by SpaceX. Finalists have been invited to test prototypes this summer on a five-mile test track being built by HTT at Quay Valley, California.
Everyone involved now accepts that Mr Musk seriously under-estimated the cost of building a Hyperloop between Los Angeles and San Francisco—probably by a factor of ten or more. There are few illusions, too, about the engineering difficulties involved. Fabricating an air-tight steel tube hundreds of miles long, with solar-powered linear motors providing propulsion while supporting passenger pods on air-bearings or by magnetic levitation is challenging enough. A bigger hurdle is overcoming the “pistoning” effect, caused by air in the tube (even though it would be at only a thousandth the pressure of that outside) piling up in front of the pod and slowing it down. Calculations done by NASA suggest the tube would have to be at least four times wider than the pod to prevent even the tiny amount of residual air within it blocking the pod's passage. Mr Musk budgeted for tubes only twice as wide.
But perhaps the most intractable problem facing Hyperloop designers is how to deal with not just the jostling, vibration and noise bombarding passengers as the compressed air screamed around the pod, but also the g-forces involved. These could easily exceed a queasy 0.5g as a result of slight variations in alignment caused by the tube’s supports flexing and settling. At the speed it is designed to travel, the Hyperloop could be a veritable “vomit comet”. A far better case could be made for it as a means for funneling freight to market (fresh produce from the Central Valley?) than as a fairground ride for churning the stomach.
If the ride quality alone did not render the Hyperloop a non-starter, the cost of building it certainly would. Michael Anderson, a resource economist at the University of California, Berkeley, reckons it would cost around $100 billion to complete. While Governor Brown’s legacy may now be safe, albeit at considerable public expense, there is no way that the Hyperloop would ever work out, says Dan Sperling, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis. It would make even the high-speed train look a bargain.
As usual national media and Wall Street Development 'labor and justice' organizations are brought out to say this is great and anyone against it is a loser------these trains are not going to bring business to poorer parts of any state---they are built to ride as fast as possible BY THEM. Connecting Foreign Economic Zones as we see in Asia----China and Japan is the only goal. The article before stated that Japan's high-speed has never met expectations.
'The project also continues to face opposition from communities worried the railway will greatly disrupt farmland, neighborhoods and public spaces, but supporters point to evidence that the railway will make it easier for central California communities to do business elsewhere and bring much-needed jobs to the poorest part of the state'.
I often talk with conservative Republicans or Democrats since I live in Baltimore. I was speaking with a low-income citizen about the privatized GLOBAL CORPORATE VEOLA TRANSPORTATION Circulator. Talk is running that it may be ended as it cannot create profits ---and with the Larry Hogan state commuter buses we will see all public transit in Baltimore disappear. I said---do you know how much Maryland/Baltimore taxpayers paid for those Circulator buses and subsidized profits for that global corporation for 5 years? A few billion. They don't care if it ends because they got their profit now moving to the global commuter buses and all these global corporations are now controlled by the same multi-national global 1% and their 2%. So, the same is happening now with these high-speed trains----all the profit will be upfront in buying the actual trains and tracks. After that if only the rich can afford a fair----that is fine.
If people remember the Air France disaster with super-sonic CONCORDE-----all this talk about speed and this plane was grounded because it was found to be too unsafe.
America’s Biggest High-Speed Rail Just Broke Ground, But A Lot Of People Still Aren’t Happy About It
01/06/2015 06:43 pm ET | Updated Jan 06, 2015
Lydia O’Connor General Assignment Reporter, The Huffington Post
California High Speed Rail
It had a low-speed start, but America’s biggest, fastest high-speed rail project finally broke ground Tuesday in Fresno, California, about halfway between the two major cities it hopes to connect by 2029 — if it can cross some longstanding financial and political hurdles.
According to the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the system will run from San Francisco to the Los Angeles basin in under three hours at speeds capable of over 200 miles per hour. It will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totaling 800 miles with up to 24 stations.
Driven by plans to cut back on jet fuel and car use as California’s population grows, the bullet train’s groundbreaking comes on the heels of Gov. Jerry Brown’s inaugural speech Monday in which announced ambitious energy goals. Among those were hopes to reduce vehicles’ petroleum use by up to 50 percent, increase electricity derived from renewable sources from one-third to 50 percent, and double the efficiency of existing buildings while making heating fuels cleaner in the next 15 years, the same projected timeline for the rail’s completion.
The $68 billion project was set to start two years ago after it secured $9.95 billion from a voter-approved bond in 2008, $3.2 billion in grants from the Obama administration in 2010 and, as of last year, 25 percent of future cap-and-trade-fees that could provide up to $1 billion a year for the project, the Los Angeles Times reported. The delay was largely caused by slow land acquisitions, an onslaught of lawsuits from possibly impacted communities, and blocked bonds, all of which the state managed to beat back, Salon noted.
But where the rest of the money for the project will come from remains to be seen; California Republicans in Congress have pledged to block any more federal funding for the railway, and experts warn that costs could greatly exceed expectations.
“The public should understand that the uncertainties are much greater than the certainties,” Martin Wachs, a University of California, Los Angeles, professor emeritus of urban planning, told the LA Times. But our political process doesn’t allow us to say ‘We don’t know what it will cost or how long it will take, but let’s get started anyway.”
The project also continues to face opposition from communities worried the railway will greatly disrupt farmland, neighborhoods and public spaces, but supporters point to evidence that the railway will make it easier for central California communities to do business elsewhere and bring much-needed jobs to the poorest part of the state.
The completed railway will be an important baby step in getting the U.S. on par with other nations’ high-speed rail systems. Fast Company points out that trains in Japan, China and Germany already exceed 300 miles per hour.
You know you are reading GLOBAL GREEN CORPORATION articles when they tie all that ENERGY GRID WITH BATTERY as being green. If we go to the second opinion where this person is balancing the costs to the needs of ordinary people----funding our public commuter rail making them electric for example then we are reading someone who is actually green ========this is the REAL ISSUE in public transit and every aspect of these high-speed rail projects has a long history of costing much more than they are worth.
'Perhaps some high speed rail money could be diverted to upgrade commuter and longer-distance services, making life easier and cheaper for ordinary passengers -- and making a bigger and fast contribution to cutting emissions'.
How green is high-speed rail?
By Mark Tutton, CNN
Updated 6:50 PM ET, Sat November 19, 2011
China has built more than 8,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines in recent yearsStory highlights
- HSR can significantly cut oil use in transport in next 10 years, says Anthony Perl
- He believes HSR can reduce oil use before alternative energy technologies are ready
- If power stations use fossil fuels, HSR will still impact climate, says Tony Bosworth
- Bosworth argues HSR must be made affordable to get people out of cars
High-Speed Rail (HSR) has been around been around for decades, but it's back in the transport spotlight amid a surge of interest from the United States and China.
Despite cuts to President Obama's original plan to spend $53 billion on HSR over the next 25 years, an ambitious scheme for HSR to connect U.S. cities is still on the agenda.
China has built more than 8,000 kilometers of high-speed rail lines in recent years and plans to spend over $400 billion on its program in the next five years, while the United Kingdom is contemplating plans to extend its more modest HSR network.
Supporters of HSR often list environmental sustainability among its virtues. Some argue it's a greener alternative to car and air travel and see it as an easy win in weaning people of fossil fuels. But just how green is HSR? Two experts with different views give their opinions.
Dr. Anthony Perl is Professor of Urban Studies and Political Science at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where he directs the Urban Studies Program. His latest book, co-authored with Richard Gilbert, is "Transport Revolutions: Moving People and Freight Without Oil."
Anthony Perl, author of "Transport Revolutions"
Any debate about the future of high-speed rail must consider where this mobility option fits into the 'big picture' of how transportation systems meet looming economic, energy and environmental challenges. In a world where 95% of motorized mobility is currently fueled by oil, high-speed rail offers a proven means of reducing dependence on this increasingly problematic energy source.
This value of using proven electric propulsion technology should not be underestimated when both the time and money to deploy energy alternatives are in short supply.
In our recent book Transport Revolutions, Richard Gilbert and I documented the economic, environmental and political dividends to be gained from replacing the internal combustion engines powering today's aircraft, cars, and motor vehicles with traction motors that can be powered by multiple energy sources delivered through the electric grid.
Since electricity is an energy carrier, it can be generated from a mix of sources that incorporate the growing share of geothermal, hydro, solar, and wind energy that will be produced in the years ahead. And because electric motors are three to four times more efficient than internal combustion engines, an immediate improvement will precede introducing renewable energy into transportation.
Grid-connected traction offers the only realistic option for significantly reducing oil use in transportation over the next 10 years.
If such a shift does not begin during this decade, the risk of a global economic collapse and/or geo-political conflict over the world's remaining oil reserves would become dangerously elevated. Making a significant dent in transportation's oil addiction within 10 years is sooner than fuel cells, biofuels, battery-electric vehicles and other alternative energy technologies will be ready to deliver change.
Biofuels that could power aircraft now cost hundreds of dollars per gallon to produce. Batteries that a big enough charge to power vehicles between cities are still too big and expensive to make electric cars and buses affordable.
But grid-connected electric trains have been operating at scale and across continents for over a century. And when the Japanese introduced modern high-speed trains through their Shinkansen, in 1964, the utility of electric trains was greatly extended.
Since the 1980s, countries across Asia and Europe have been building new high-speed rail infrastructure to deploy electric mobility between major cities up to 1,000 kilometers apart. For intercity trips between 200 and 1,000 kilometers, high-speed trains have proven their success in drawing passengers out of both cars and planes, as well as meeting new travel demand with a much lower carbon footprint than driving or flying could have done.
If we are serious about reducing oil's considerable risks to global prosperity and sustainability, we will not miss the opportunity offered by high-speed rail to decrease transportation's oil consumption sooner, rather than later.
Tony Bosworth is a campaigner for Friends of the Earth, in its energy and climate team. He has a long track record of working on environmental issues, including a spell as transport campaigner for the environmental campaigning charity.
Tony Bosworth, Friends of the Earth
Across the world governments are looking to high speed rail to provide fast, modern transport systems fit for the 21st century.
By the end of 2012 China is expected to have more high speed rail lines than the rest of the world combined, while President Obama aims to give 80 per cent of Americans access to fast rail travel within 25 years.
But if governments want high speed rail to spearhead the drive towards a cleaner transport system they must look further than simply providing faster trains.
The UK is currently mulling over a high speed rail link between London and Birmingham, a city about 160 kilometers north-west of the capital. But according to official estimates, it's unlikely to lead to significant carbon dioxide cuts -- and may even increase climate-changing emissions.
So what's stopping high speed rail being a major part of a greener transport future in Britain?
First there's the electricity to power the trains. Over two thirds of the world's electricity comes from fossil fuels so until (or unless) power stations are weaned off fossil fuels, electric trains will still have a significant climate impact -- although rail travel is still better than flying or driving.
Secondly, will high speed rail entice people off the roads and short-haul flights? French TGVs and the Channel Tunnel rail link have succeeded, but official calculations estimate that only 16 per cent of anticipated passengers for the London to Birmingham line will have swapped from planes or cars.
One of the main factors is cost. Despite soaring fuel prices, motoring and flying are still expected to be cheaper than high speed rail. If faster rail travel is to become a realistic alternative it must be affordable too.
The UK's high speed rail link is expected to cost a whopping $54 billion. But living as we do in cash-strapped times there's surely a strong case for investing some of that that money in less grandiose, but more effective, projects.
Perhaps some high speed rail money could be diverted to upgrade commuter and longer-distance services, making life easier and cheaper for ordinary passengers -- and making a bigger and fast contribution to cutting emissions.
High speed rail can play a major role in tackling climate change around the world -- if it's affordable, powered by clean energy and gets people out of their cars and off planes, we really will be speeding in the right direction.
'For now, the high-speed trains appear to have few riders, mainly because ticket prices are considered exorbitantly high for most Chinese'
One does not have to look hard for all the critics of these high-speed rail projects everywhere they are installed. As this article states---it simply seems a goal to install them everywhere to bring that profit. We know SMART METERS for home energy and water are seeing widespread corporate fraud and corruption and yet, our 1% Wall Street players are pushing that through as well. We must get rid of all 1% Wall Street before trillions of dollars in infrastructure spending of no value to WE THE PEOPLE are installed simply to move money to the rich.
THE SLOW MOVING TRAINS TAKEN FROM THE TRACK-------------THE ONES CHINESE PEOPLE WANT TO USE
'During February’s annual migration, officials noticed that the high-speed trains were largely empty. But the slow trains on those lines have been taken out of use, giving people few choices'.
Siemens is one of the largest global corporation and is known for enslaving labor-
'Siemens High Speed Rail
Travel at 220mph, a faster, greener way to connect people across the US
High Speed Services
High Speed Solutions
The High Speed Experience
'So far, investigators have blamed lightning strikes, a software signaling glitch and human error. But more evidence is emerging that basic safety was ignored in the headlong rush to build this politically symbolic high-speed network'
Are China’s high-speed trains heading off the rails?
By Keith B. Richburg April 23, 2011BEIJING
— China’s expanding network of ultramodern high-speed trains has come under growing scrutiny here over costs and because of concerns that builders ignored safety standards in the quest to build faster trains in record time.
The trains, a symbol of the country’s rapid development, have drawn praise from President Obama. But what began in February with the firing and detention of the country’s top railway official has spiraled into a corruption investigation that has raised questions about the project’s future.
Last week, the new leadership at the Railways Ministry announced that to enhance safety, the top speed of all trains was being decreased from about 218 mph to 186. Without elaborating, the ministry called the safety situation “severe” and said it was launching safety checks along the entire network of tracks.
The ministry also announced it would reduce ticket prices to boost lagging ridership and would slow construction of high-speed lines to avoid outpacing public demand.
With the latest revelations, the shining new emblem of China’s modernization looks more like an example of many of the country’s interlinking problems: top-level corruption, concerns about construction quality and a lack of public input into the planning of large-scale projects.
Questions have also arisen about whether costs and public needs are too often overlooked as the leadership pursues grandiose projects, which some critics say are for vanity or to engender national pride but which are also seen as an effort to pump up growth through massive public works spending.
The Finance Ministry said last week that the Railways Ministry continued to lose money in the first quarter of this year. The ministry’s debt stands at $276 billion, almost all borrowed from Chinese banks.
“They’ve taken on a massive amount of debt to build it,” said Patrick Chovanec, who teaches at Tsinghua University. He said China accelerated construction of the high-speed rail network — including 295 sleek glass-and-marble train stations — as part of the country’s stimulus spending in response to the 2008 global financial crisis.
Zhao Jian, a professor at Beijing Jiaotong University and a longtime critic of high-speed rail, said he worries that the cost of the project might have created a hidden debt bomb that threatens China’s banking system.
“In China, we will have a debt crisis — a high-speed rail debt crisis,” he said. “I think it is more serious than your subprime mortgage crisis. You can always leave a house or use it. The rail system is there. It’s a burden. You must operate the rail system, and when you operate it, the cost is very high.”
Part of the cost problem has been that each segment of the system has been far more expensive to build than initially estimated, which many trace directly to the alleged corruption being uncovered, including a flawed bidding process.
After the railway official, Liu Zhijun, was detained by the Communist Party’s disciplinary committee, stories began trickling out about how a businesswoman in Shanxi province set up an investment company that took kickbacks from firms awarded contracts on the project.
In March, government auditors found several problems with the construction of the Beijing-to-Shanghai line, including fake invoices that more than a dozen companies used for construction materials and supervisors at some construction companies who lacked professional engineering licenses.
The revelations have led to questions about safety and whether corrupt subcontractors cut corners to line their pockets.
Train line construction requires the use of high-quality fly ash in the concrete. Chinese media reported allegations that some contractors might have used lower-quality ash that had been mixed with other substances.
Chinese officials have proudly noted that their bullet trains were the world’s fastest on rails. But the slower speeds announced last week would put them on a par with European and Japanese trains. Trains and tracks wear out more quickly at faster speeds, and high-speed tracks need to be straighter.
In announcing the safety checks, officials said that in some places, villagers had built pigpens beneath bridges holding high-speed tracks, causing a potential hazard. They also cited concerns about people and dangerous materials being too close to the tracks, increasing the risk of casualties.
For now, the high-speed trains appear to have few riders, mainly because ticket prices are considered exorbitantly high for most Chinese.
China is the world’s second-largest economy in gross domestic product terms. But most Chinese are still relatively poor, with an estimated per capita income of $4,300, below the world average, according to the International Monetary Fund.
Many of those riding trains are migrant workers, who return annually to their home villages. But for most of them, even the cheapest tickets are unaffordable.
During February’s annual migration, officials noticed that the high-speed trains were largely empty. But the slow trains on those lines have been taken out of use, giving people few choices. As a result, the highways were clogged and more people rode long-distance buses.
Now that the Railways Ministry has announced lower ticket prices, it remains to be seen whether the bullet trains will earn money.