eNewsletter for April 14, 2014   April 18th, 2014

Oregon, Washington Consider Alternative To Amtrak For Cascades …OPB News-Apr 10, 2014 Oregon and Washington might turn to a private company to operate its Cascades rail service. The two states are testing the waters to see if anyone other than Amtrak is interested in operating the route that includes Seattle, Portland and Eugene. Most commuter rail services today are operated under contract by private companies. Amtrak has lost several commuter contracts recently because they were underbid. It will be interesting what the host railroads reaction will be to this, particularly on the issue of liability. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

Enewsletter for April 7, 2014   April 11th, 2014

Parking Sanity: Right Price Good for Congestion, Transit, & Revenue  Atlantic Cities Apr 2, 2014  Costanza’s universal theory of parking states that drivers should never pay for a spot because, if they apply themselves, they’ll get it for free. Most U.S. cities do everything they can to abide the theory. They undervalue the price of street spaces. They keep parking so cheap it encourages driving (and thus undermines their own transit investments, leading to more driving). And they require a minimum number of parking spaces for new developments whether residents need them or not.

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for March 31, 2014   April 4th, 2014

Public Policy Institute of California  PPIC Statewide Survey March 2014  SLIM MAJORITY OF ADULTS FAVOR HIGH SPEED RAIL In 2008, voters passed a $10 billion state bond for its planning and construction. Today, when read a description of the system and its $68 billion price tag, 53 percent favor it and 42 percent oppose it. Likely voters are less supportive (45% favor, 50% oppose) Majorities in the San Francisco Bay Area (63%), Central Valley (57%), Orange/San Diego (54%) and Los Angeles (52%) are in favor. Inland Empire residents are divided (45% favor, 46% oppose). When opponents of high speed rail are asked how they would feel if the cost were lower support rises (69% adults, 60% likely voters). Asked about high speed rail’s importance 35 percent of adults and 29 percent of likely voters say it is very important to the future quality of life and state’s economic vitality.These results show that if High Speed Rail is economical and serves most of California it will have public support. It also suggests that it won’t be a major issue with voters. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for March 24, 2014   March 28th, 2014

Squirrel Blamed for San Jose Power Outage NBC Bay Area – Mar 19, 2014

One of the customers affected was Caltrain’s San Jose dispatching center, according to Tell. The outage caused the dispatching center to fail and led trains to stop, causing major system-wide delays.

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for March 17, 2014   March 20th, 2014

One of the changes coming to Union Station will be the end of Gates E and F at the mouth of the tunnel to the platforms.Amtrak passengers now wait in line behind these gates for their trains. Amtrak passengers will be encouraged to sit in the waiting room until their train is called. This will reduce congestion in the tunnel. Also large electronic signs displaying train arrivals and departures will be placed in the waiting room, so passenger won’t need to use the ones at the mouth of the tunnel which also makes congestion worse. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for March 10, 2014   March 14th, 2014

Amtrak fails to weather winter well Chicago Tribune-Mar 6, 2014    The passenger railroad’s on-time performance plummeted to around 26 percent on one Illinois run in January. Overall for the month, less than half of the state service operated on schedule, Amtrak data show. Even Amtrak’s service between Chicago and Milwaukee, which normally runs like clockwork, recorded its worst on-time performance in five years in January, with only 73 percent of trains arriving on time.

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for March 3, 2014   March 7th, 2014

Another View: Opponents’ arguments against high-speed rail are bogus Sacramento Bee – ?Feb 28, 2014 When opponents of California’s high-speed rail program don’t have answers on their side, they often resort to fiction over facts, as Rep. Jeff Denham and state Sen. Andy Vidak demonstrated in their highly critical op-ed ( “New vote needed on high-speed rail project” Viewpoints, Feb. 26). This goes beyond respectful disagreement. The opponents’ claims are increasingly outlandish. Indeed, virtually none of their “facts” are facts at all, but false assertions and phony suppositions.

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for February 24, 2014   February 28th, 2014

Cities on the Southwest Chief line want state support Dodge City Daily Globe-Feb 20, 2014 The loss of the Southwest Chief passenger rail line would cause a substantial disruption and loss of jobs, said representatives from cities facing an end-of-year deadline to secure a plan to improve or lose the line…About 5,000 passengers per year use the depot in Dodge City despite the eastbound train arriving just after midnight and the westbound at 5 a.m. Another 7,000 use the line from Garden City. About 250,000 people ride the line each year.

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for February 18, 2014   February 20th, 2014

As things stand there is $9.95 Billion dollars in Bonds for High Speed Rail as well as $3.4 Billion from the Federal Government. From the Bond money $1.9 billion is for projects outside of the San Joaquin Valley including transit projects, positive train control and track upgrades to existing rail services. The Cap and Trade funding the Governor is talking about for High Speed Rail would go towards the $10 billion needed to extend track construction south of Bakersfield to Palmdale and “bridge the gap” between Northern and Southern California by passenger rail. There is $4 billion left for this in the Bond money which leaves $6 billion that might come from Cap and Trade. So what would happen if we cancel the High Speed Rail Project tomorrow? We would throw away the Federal Funding for starters. The Bond money would be gone too. NB

Read the rest of this entry »

eNewsletter for February 10, 2014   February 14th, 2014

RailPAC for the record is non-partisan. Before 2009, High Speed Rail and transportation in general were also non-partisan issues. The bill creating the California High Speed Rail Authority was signed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson. Prop 1A with the bond money for the High Speed Rail Project was put on the 2008 ballot by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Federal Program for funding High Speed Rail nationally had been around long before 2009 and most of the planning for it was done during the administration of  Republican President George W. Bush. Strong supporters in 2008 for High Speed Rail projects in their States were the then Republican Governors of Wisconsin and Florida.

Read the rest of this entry »