Town Square

How High Speed Rail will affect out local communities

Original post made by morris brown on Jun 26, 2008

In an article in the new local paper the DAILY POST, Diana Diamond interviews Rod Diridon and writes the following:

On how local communities will be affected…

Locals would be overridden

I asked Diridon whether one or two local cities, like Atherton and Menlo Park, could stop a 400-plus mile high-speed train system in this state.

If the bond measure passes, the high-speed train system will override local objections, he said. The streets that cross the tracks will have to be lowered to accommodate the high-speed electric trains (similar to the underpass at the Oregon Expressway at Alma in Palo Alto). And the tracks would have sound walls on both sides.

So local control will be lost. We will have no control. The CHSRA will do them and implement what they want.

Diamond exclaims that there is good news:

The good news is the bond measure will pay for the grade separation work.

Diridon said. And since this will be a general obligation bond, residents' taxes will not be raised,

Diridon continually makes this statement "taxes will not be raised.". Now the $10 billion bond will cost the general fund of the state $665 million dollars for each year of the 30 life of the bond. That's a total of almost $20 billion. That's a total of about $2000 for an average family of four!

How he can continue to repeat this falsehood is amazing. Where does the general fund revenues come from? They come from our taxes.


Posted by morris brown, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 27, 2008 at 5:00 am

Sorry -- I omitted giving a link to the article.

Web Link

Posted by concerned taxpayer, a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 28, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Wow, that's expensive. Does anyone know how much of the real costs that $10 B bond covers? Does it include all of the initial design and construction, including grade separations and materials? Does it include subsidizing operations, as most rail systems require? Would that be above and beyond what we taxpayers already pay for Caltrain and Amtrak? I worry about getting lowballed with an already high amount.

Posted by Martin Engel, a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 29, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Glad you asked, taxpayer. Can you think of any infrastructure project where the initial costs did not double, triple or increase four and five times the original estimate? Homer Tunnel in Palo Alto? Bay Bridge? The Boston Big Dig? The Eurotunnel? BART? Light rail in San Jose?

Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg, at the Delft University of Technology, has done extensive research on large railroad projects and established a pattern of huge cost overruns in development and highly inflated projections of ridership and revenue.

All of which is to say, that the current cost projections for the SF to LA segment of the high-speed train are budgeted at $33 billion and the entire project, including Sacramento and San Diego, will cost $42 billion. That's insufficient in today's dollars. What do suppose it will be in 12 years, when it's supposed to be completed? It's not unreasonable to project actual final costs at $100 billion or more. The current $10 billion on the November ballot is merely an entry fee. (Although they don't tell us that.) Is any of this a good idea in this economy? I don't think so.

The question then becomes, why should we taxpayers in California foot as much as $100 billion for a luxury train that won't do any of the things they promise, and will continue to be a drain on the state economy forever?