Join us for “Lobby Thursdays” at the above location in Sacramento on most Thursdays. We need TRAC members to join us and remind State legislators and their staffs about the importance of passenger rail in California.
Next TRAC Lobby Thursday is tentatively Thursday, July 10th.
We normally meet at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday mornings at the TRAC office to coordinate our lobbying efforts that day. The TRAC office is located at 1025 Ninth Street, Suite 223, in downtown Sacramento about three blocks from the State Capitol Building.
If you plan to join our efforts, please RSVP by calling us at (707) 557-1667 (preferred), or email us at trainriders2100 -AT- gmail.com (substitute @ and delete spaces).
California is in danger of losing $2.4 billion of American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants, due to the current California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) project’s legal problems and the September 2017 expenditure deadline. (Another $929 million in federal FY 2010 grant funds does not have an expenditure deadline.)
These funds could be secured for California if they were redirected to improving Amtrak service in the Central Valley. The San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority could deploy the funds within the time limits, because laying track in a freight railroad right-of-way is much simpler.
This would require renegotiation of the ARRA grant with the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), shifting California’s grants from the Core Express (125-250+ mph) tier of the HSR Corridor Investment Strategy to the Regional Service (90-125 mph) tier, which serves mid- sized and large cities. Central Valley residents from Bakersfield to Sacramento would greatly benefit from a program to “Upgrade existing intercity passenger rail corridors to improve reliability, speed, and frequency of existing services.” The San Joaquin Amtrak Corridor can be improved at a modest cost with minimal disruption.
The project would cost-effectively build ridership, demonstrate demand for higher-speed HSR and restore public confidence in the State’s leadership in rail transport. A higher-speed San Joaquin Corridor would feed into a future statewide HSR system, enabling one-seat rides to Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
• The President wins (fulfills his stated HSR vision)
• The Governor wins (he can take credit for the idea–and gets out of the controversy)
• BNSF & UPRR win (the public pays for track improvements)
• Farmers & land owners win (limited ROW acquisition needed) • Labor & the local economy win (construction work still needed)
• Traveling public wins (improved service decades sooner)
• Eastside cities win (minimal disruption, minimal additional train noise)
• Sacramento wins (faster travel to Capitol, decades sooner)
• Safety wins (grade crossings on major arterials replaced by grade separations)
• HSR travel wins (faster Valley rail travel will stimulate interest in other corridors)
Other Possible Projects
The following near-term projects would support future HSR, if funding is available: LA Union Station “run-through” tracks; “LOSSAN” (Pacific Surfliner) corridor improvements including grade separations for the 3 most dangerous grade crossings in the LA-Anaheim rail segment; Caltrain Extension to Downtown San Francisco.
BART Safety Rules Could Impact Service in Future http://www.masstransitmag.com/news/11449060/bart-safety-rules-could-impact-service-in-future?utm_source=MASS+NewsViews+Newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=MASS140503002
Why Bus Rapid Transit Has Stalled In Bay Area http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Why-bus-rapid-transit-has-stalled-in-Bay-Area-5461409.php
Estimated Cost of Key Bullet Train Segment Rises $1 Billion http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-bullet-train-costs-20140508-story.html
Long Rails Arrive In Novato As SMART Work Continues
Hudson River Tunnels Have Up To 30 Years Life Left, Says Amtrak
Los Angeles Union Station Celebrates 75 Years
Feds Give Sacramento Streetcar A Green Light
We’ll Believe It When We See It Dept: Optimistic Report On New Bay Bridge Maintenance
Dollars, Dollars, Dollars Dept: US Congress Faces Highway [and Transit] Funding Battle; Deadlock Looms
San Francisco Leaders $1.5 Billion Push For Muni Funding
Don’t Mess With This Guy Dept: Undercover Cops At New Jersey Transit
10,000 Pack Orlando SunRail On Opening Day, Causing Big Delays
Heads Roll On Long Island Dept: LIRR President Fired
SF Muni T-Third Street Line “Sardine City” On Giants’ Game Days
Tut, Tut How So British Dept: Amtrak Launches Pilot Program Allowing Cats And Dogs
Muni Better Late Than Never Dept: SF Muni Installs Between Car Barriers On LRVs
Well, Only $108 Million Dept: Morgantown To Modernize Its PRT System
[Well, this could buy a 4-5 mile modern streetcar system so they’re not stuck with one-of-a-kind proprietary PRT gadgets and doodads, but we digress…]
Well, BRT IS Popular With Academics & Bureaucrats Dept: Protesters Decry San Bernadino LNG-Powered BRT
Doh! Homer! Dept: You May Be Addicted To Your Car http://www.theatlanticcities.com/commute/2014/04/you-may-be-addicted-your-car/8998/
Disability Activists Rally For Accessibility Changes To Future BART Cars http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/disability-advocates-rally-for-accessibility-changes-in-future-bart-cars/Content?oid=2784714
TRANSDEF released its analysis on April 23, 2014 of the CHSRA’s Contribution of the High-Speed Rail Program to Reducing California’s Greenhouse Gas Emission Levels (June 2013). In short, the construction of HSR would generate more greenhouse gases (GHGs) than it would reduce, for at least 2 decades. Because of this, it would be illegal to use cap and trade funds, which are intended to reduce GHGs, to build HSR.
What’s especially surprising about the CHSRA’s report is its overtly deceitful manner of hiding its construction emissions, and its failure to provide comprehensive emissions numbers, despite being tasked by the Legislature with identifying the project’s net GHG benefits. Perhaps not so surprising are the two high-level Administration officials that gave their unqualified endorsements to the report.
Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg has announced a new plan to allocate cap and trade funds to support SB 375 Sustainable Communities. That plan proposes to devote 20% of revenues to HSR. The proposal is troubling above and beyond its inclusion of HSR in the grab bag. It politicizes the use of cap and trade funds, departing from ARB’s strict approach of maximally reducing GHGs with the funds. The proposal would encourage the gaming of the evaluation of project GHG emissions, which could gravely harm the state’s climate change efforts.
Used with permission from TRANSDEF. Original post at TRANSDEF Analysis of HSR Greenhouse Emissions Analysis.