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Contractors Want An Additional $1B - Admit California Line Will Not Open in 2030

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Contractors Want An Additional $1B - Admit California Line Will Not Open in 2030
Posted by BEAUSABRE on Friday, October 8, 2021 7:44 AM

From the LA Times

Cost overruns hit California bullet train again amid a new financial crunch (msn.com)

And the billion is just for the "easy" part of the line in the Central Valley, &diety knows what the complete line will cost

Will someone please put it out of its misery and kill it?

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Posted by MidlandMike on Friday, October 8, 2021 7:37 PM

The article says that unforseen needed changes caused the cost overruns.  Other countries had big problems building their first HSR.

 

 

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Posted by BaltACD on Friday, October 8, 2021 11:25 PM

MidlandMike
The article says that unforseen needed changes caused the cost overruns.  Other countries had big problems building their first HSR.

When you take on a 'big' project you have no idea of the situation that construction of the project may run into - AND HAVE TO BE SOLVED.  Mother Nature throws sliders, curves and knuckleball at the engineer that envision, spec and design the big projects - if you are going to make it in the world of big projects you have to hit each problem as it presents itself out of the park.

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Posted by charlie hebdo on Sunday, October 10, 2021 8:34 AM

Some posters (who don't like government or HSR) seem to think cost overruns are unusual. One word: Pentagon.

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Posted by Flintlock76 on Sunday, October 10, 2021 11:17 AM

charlie hebdo

Some posters (who don't like government or HSR) seem to think cost overruns are unusual. One word: Pentagon.

 

I doubt there's anyone here who thinks there's any excuse for those either. 

It's easy, far too easy, to be a spendthrift when it's someone else's money you're playing with.  

I remember reading a few years ago about a long-serving congressman, it doesn't matter who or what party he belonged to, who was one of the biggest spenders of the people's money raising holy hell with a contractor over the cost of replacing the roof of his Georgetown home.  When it was his OWN money...

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Posted by Convicted One on Sunday, October 10, 2021 1:35 PM

Flintlock76
who was one of the biggest spenders of the people's money raising holy hell with a contractor over the cost of replacing the roof of his Georgetown home.  When it was his OWN money...

So, after winessing years of malfeasance, was quick to recognize it when it struck close to home?

Let's hope that other states learn a similar lesson from California's HSR woes.

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Posted by BaltACD on Sunday, October 10, 2021 2:03 PM

Convicted One
 
Flintlock76
who was one of the biggest spenders of the people's money raising holy hell with a contractor over the cost of replacing the roof of his Georgetown home.  When it was his OWN money... 

So, after winessing years of malfeasance, was quick to recognize it when it struck close to home?

Let's hope that other states learn a similar lesson from California's HSR woes.

Show me a politician that leaves office poorer than he entered office and it will be the first 'honest' politician that has existed in the existence of mankind.

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Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Sunday, October 10, 2021 3:52 PM

The California HSR is an infrastructure program. First seed money by the Obama admin "TARP". Second seed money by the "Biden likes trains" infrastructure plan.
  Let's create jobs then worry about the fare box later logic...surprised Newsome didn't dictate that it be solar powered to boot...

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Posted by NKP guy on Monday, October 11, 2021 8:40 AM

   It may be wrong to assign all the blame to politicians.  Didn't we just see at 30th Street Station in Philadelphia that the contractors solicited the bribes and submitted the inflated invoices?  Why aren't folks angry at the contractors for cost overruns?  Is it because we don't know their names but instead know the names of politicians?

   If we follow the logic of some here, California should simply shut down the HSR project and walk away from it because of the cost overruns.  Imagine how much money has been sunk into engineering studies, EPA reports, and such for a number of years.  How many millions is that?  All for nothing, apparently.

   Plus, walking away is no answer.  What is California supposed to do to move ever-greater numbers of people in the future?  What would be the cost in dollars and political capital to add another 10 lanes to the exisiting Interstates and freeways?  I can't imagine the price tag or the angst-NIMBY reaction being much less than it already is.  Build more airports in the Bay area or near Los Angeles?  Not very likely.

   Google informs us that it cost approximately $104 million to build the Transcontinental railroad; I believe there were some cost overruns involved in that project, too.  Think what has been, and will continue to be the value of that permanent improvement & investment to California and the nation?

   Anyone tempted to think California's growth is over and that HSR, more freeways or something won't be needed in the future is making a huge bet against the Golden State.  No one ever got rich betting against California.

 

 

 

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Posted by Convicted One on Monday, October 11, 2021 9:14 AM

NKP guy
Google informs us that it cost approximately $104 million to build the Transcontinental railroad; I believe there were some cost overruns involved in that project, too.

 

Good analogy!!  I believe there was a healthy share of intentional misdealing on Mr Crocker and Mr Durant's accounts.

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Posted by York1 on Monday, October 11, 2021 9:38 AM

Going from $40 billion to over $100 billion (and counting) is a little more serious than just "cost overruns".

Anaheim to San Francisco was supposed to have trains running by 2029.  Right now, politicians are saying 2033, with engineering firms laughing at that.

The problems are too many to list here.

I don't care what your religion or political beliefs are.  Just use your turn signal.

York1 John       

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Posted by alphas on Monday, October 11, 2021 3:10 PM

This has turned into a modern "Big Dig" project.   But probably no one really doubted that tunnel woudn't be completed.    There is some doubt that this HSR might never be completed as originally visualized.  

If it isn't completed as proposed in 20 years then there is the possibility that CA can't wait and has to do something else--or even the travel technology will have changed enough that a better solution then the current HSR is available.

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Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Monday, October 11, 2021 6:13 PM

alphas

This has turned into a modern "Big Dig" project.   But probably no one really doubted that tunnel woudn't be completed.    There is some doubt that this HSR might never be completed as originally visualized.  

If it isn't completed as proposed in 20 years then there is the possibility that CA can't wait and has to do something else--or even the travel technology will have changed enough that a better solution then the current HSR is available.

 

South West air will undercut($$) the 3 hr San Francisco to LA HSR run. This will be the death knell. 
 And as the previous post infers, the Star Trek "teleporter" technology will be available first...

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Posted by MidlandMike on Monday, October 11, 2021 7:28 PM

Former Car Maintainer
South West air will undercut($$) the 3 hr San Francisco to LA HSR run. This will be the death knell.   And as the previous post infers, the Star Trek "teleporter" technology will be available first...

SouthWest cancelled 2000 flights yesterday and many more today, and passengers are not happy.  SouthWest can't come up with a plausible explanation.  Also, I doubt SF wants to build another airport.

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Posted by alphas on Monday, October 11, 2021 9:43 PM

Much of the issue with SWA was crew problems.   Part was the prior weather and air traffic controller problems had them at too many places where they shouldn't be and replacement crews had a tough time getting to where they should be.  IF the news is correct (one never knows these days), part was also some "sick-outs" due to their employees sending management a message about the vacination requirements.   We'll see if this becomes a lingering problem.   

SWA has utilized older and less used airports and turned them into their main location in a given area.   If they want even a larger presence in SF they will look for available space somewhere in the vacinity.    The price difference is enough that their passengers will tolerate some extra travel time to the airport.   I have had some SWA flights that were better than others but I've never had one I'd call "bad".    They're the only US airline for which I can make that statement.

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Posted by alphas on Monday, October 11, 2021 10:13 PM

 

   "Google informs us that it cost approximately $104 million to build the Transcontinental railroad; I believe there were some cost overruns involved in that project, too.  Think what has been, and will continue to be the value of that permanent improvement & investment to California and the nation?"

 

I don't know where you got that $104 Million amount.   Looking it up on line it cost about $60 Million or $1.2 Billion in today's currency.   I wasn't able to quickly find out if that was the total cost for the RR's or the cost of the Goverment subsidies--$16,000 per mile for flat land, $32,000 for foothills, $48,000 for mountains.

 

 

 

 

[/quote]

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Posted by Gramp on Monday, October 11, 2021 10:50 PM

The California governor is signing a bill that has in it the requirement that retailers with 500 or more employees in the state that have toy sections in their stores will need to have a clearly delineated gender neutral toy section. Cost overrun for Lionel layout construction projects. 

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Posted by NKP guy on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 7:57 AM

alphas
   "Google informs us that it cost approximately $104 million to build the Transcontinental railroad; I believe there were some cost overruns involved in that project, too.  Think what has been, and will continue to be the value of that permanent improvement & investment to California and the nation?"

  I don't know where you got that $104 Million amount.   Looking it up on line it cost about $60 Million or $1.2 Billion in today's currency.   I wasn't able to quickly find out if that was the total cost for the RR's or the cost of the Goverment subsidies--$16,000 per mile for flat land, $32,000 for foothills, $48,000 for mountains.

 

 

   

"No reliable figures exist for how much construction of the line cost. One estimate places the cost of the Central Pacific at about $36 million, another at $51.5 million. Oakes Ames testified that the Union Pacific cost about $60 million to build. When the road was completed in 1869, the capitalization of the Union Pacific stood at a staggering $111 million, of which $74 million was in bonds. When the Crédit Mobilier scandal exploded in 1872–1873, both the House and Senate formed committees to investigate the charges of fraud and bribery. Their findings succeeded only in making a tangled tale even more convoluted. Oakes Ames was pronounced guilty of bribing fellow congressmen, but no one was found guilty of receiving the payoffs. Although numerous figures were tossed about in testimony then and later, the actual cost of construction remains unknown."

"The government bonds received for construction—the so-called subsidy—remained a bone of contention for another quarter century. Ultimately both railroads paid off their government debt in full. From the first, the government also received another payment in the form of reduced rates on its troops and freight carried by the roads. No one doubts that the transcontinental railroad cost far more to build than was necessary, nor that considerable skimming off the contracts and the work took place. However, in the context of the era the completion of the railroad remains a remarkable achievement, one that for better or worse changed the destiny and character of the West."


Maury Klein, Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Rhode Island, is the author of seventeen books focusing on the industrialization of America. His books on railroads include a three-volume history of the Union Pacific from 1862 to the present and Unfinished Business: Railroads and American Life. His most recent work is A Call to Arms: Mobilizing America for World War II.

 

   Notice that the Central Pacific was estimated to cost between $36m and $51.5m  Figuring the truth is somewhere in between I averaged the two figures and added that amount to the $60 the Union Pacific cost to build (according to Oakes Ames).  Thus:  my estimate of $104m.     As Prof. Klein notes, no one knows the true cost of the Transcontinental railroad.  I suspect that is true of NYC's Second Avenue Subway, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Panama Canal.  It's likely true of all enormous construction projects.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 1:29 PM

How very similar that when completed, the first Pacific railroad involved massive overspending into various pockets, and would initially result in only a rickety single track starting from a relatively unsettled region far distant from most of its prospective clientele...

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Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 1:29 PM

You notice there is no public outcry on HSR to be completed quickly? Little need Or desire for any one to ride it (besides Joe)?

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Posted by York1 on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 4:15 PM

Overmod
How very similar that when completed, the first Pacific railroad involved massive overspending into various pockets, and would initially result in only a rickety single track starting from a relatively unsettled region far distant from most of its prospective clientele...

 

Except that, then, the only other way to get there was several dangerous months on a rocking ship, or months of dangerous walking, on horseback, or on a wagon.

That train was a massive improvement.

I don't care what your religion or political beliefs are.  Just use your turn signal.

York1 John       

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 4:29 PM

York1
That train was a massive improvement.

I'm not saying it wasn't.  But for the same money and time, they could have constructed it to the track standards of the predecessor line to the United Railroads of New Jersey line from New Brunswick to Trenton, stations for which still  seem astoundingly modern when seen in contemporary photographs.  They could have just kept building past each other (as they actually did for a while on the sly!) and rapidly gotten to double-track separation, then expanded service to increase demand.  Instead we had a bankrupt UP BEFORE the Jay Cooke collapse, and development of the Octopus instead of improved east-west traffic, including a 'southern' Pacific Railroad (and no 35th-Parallel Pacific Railroad to speak of).

And no Transcontinental Railroad at all, not even an alphabet route.

I am very worried that the California HSR is going the way of a more lavishly financed but still slipshod Chicago New York Air Line Railway --  one that actually grades over Coffee Creek but then lays single track to 'save money' and prices its fares to recover as much of its costs as possible.

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Posted by York1 on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 5:19 PM

Overmod
I am very worried that the California HSR is going the way of a more lavishly financed but still slipshod Chicago New York Air Line Railway --  one that actually grades over Coffee Creek but then lays single track to 'save money' and prices its fares to recover as much of its costs as possible.

 

I believe you're correct.

I guess I was trying to say that in the 1860s, the transcontinental railroad was a needed, massive improvement in transportation.

Today, going from LA to San Francisco, if you need speed, there are plenty of daily flights that will beat HSR.  If you want your own car when you get there, you can drive for just a few hours longer than HSR.

What is the need for a $100 billion HSR system other than we just want a $100 billion HSR train ride?

I don't care what your religion or political beliefs are.  Just use your turn signal.

York1 John       

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Posted by blue streak 1 on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 7:29 PM

Please do not keep making the CA HSR just LAX - SFO.  There will be many intermediate stations for either origin or destination.  The inland Empire of LAX has many locastions not very airline friendly.  +,the stations on down to San Diego.  The same but for a lesser extent around San Jose and SFO.  Evetually Stocton to Sacremento will provide many intermediate stations with connection trains as well.

When the Amtrak PRIIA studies came out the end to end coach riders were less than 20 % exception was sleeper passengers. The capitol had the largest % of rider WASH <> CHI.

There is a future exception and that will be Texas HSR from Dallas <> Houston.  But if it extends to Ft. Worth then that metric will change on the end to end ridership.

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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 7:47 PM

blue streak 1
Please do not keep making the CA HSR just LAX - SFO.  There will be many intermediate stations for either origin or destination.

No there won't, because no, there can't.  The acceleration, deceleration and dwell will absolutely limit the number of stops tolerable, probably to no more than those workable for one of the 'second spine' proposals multiplied by two; you can have more stops of course but you'll lose any practical advantage of that multi billion spend on "HSR" technology (over, say, PRIIA 125 or even some expensive waivered kludge to 150 or, nontrivially even more expensive, 160mph peak speed.

And then we can take up the issue of high speed on single track with sidings, and how likely you'll get reliable end-to-end service even between outer suburbs of LA and the SF area.  With all the delay of transfer to low-time last-mile modes that actually get you from the miracle train to anywhere meaningful that passengers rich enough to pay for it are going to go.

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Posted by MidlandMike on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 8:29 PM

alphas

Much of the issue with SWA was crew problems.   Part was the prior weather and air traffic controller problems had them at too many places where they shouldn't be and replacement crews had a tough time getting to where they should be.  IF the news is correct (one never knows these days), part was also some "sick-outs" due to their employees sending management a message about the vacination requirements.   We'll see if this becomes a lingering problem.   

SWA has utilized older and less used airports and turned them into their main location in a given area.   If they want even a larger presence in SF they will look for available space somewhere in the vacinity.    The price difference is enough that their passengers will tolerate some extra travel time to the airport.   I have had some SWA flights that were better than others but I've never had one I'd call "bad".    They're the only US airline for which I can make that statement.

 

Most of the reasons that SWA gave have been debunked.  While it is true there were weather problems, no other airlines had SWA's meltdown.  It turns out the problem was that SWA has been to slow to call-back furloughed crews, and had no back-up for when weather problems caused a hiccup, and then with no extra crews things cascaded out of control.  I guess low fares go with low cost operation. 

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Posted by Gramp on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 11:14 PM

Re: the transcontinental railroad, it's important to remember the overarching reasons it was built. Civil War Era. 

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, October 14, 2021 8:06 AM

Were the Egyptian pyramids completed 'On Time and Under Budget'?

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Posted by Former Car Maintainer on Thursday, October 14, 2021 3:16 PM

BaltACD

Were the Egyptian pyramids completed 'On Time and Under Budget'?

 

Good analogy: Both pyramid and HSR were envisioned by political demagogues, built as a tribute to themselves, and serve no useful purpose....

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Posted by BaltACD on Thursday, October 14, 2021 3:30 PM

Former Car Maintainer
 
BaltACD

Were the Egyptian pyramids completed 'On Time and Under Budget'? 

Good analogy: Both pyramid and HSR were envisioned by demagogues, built as a tribute to themselves, and serve no useful purpose....

HSR has the POTENTIAL to serve to a useful purpose when it is completed.

Italy's HSR network is being credited to driving the Italian national airline Alitalia into bankruptcy.

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