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Panel urges 'thorough reassessment' of rail plans

Original post made on Dec 7, 2010

Potentially fatal flaws are threatening California's proposed high-speed rail system, according to a new report by a panel of "peer group" experts. The six-member panel called for a "thorough reassessment" of key engineering, financial, economic and managerial issues.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, December 7, 2010, 10:44 AM

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Dec 7, 2010 at 1:42 pm

Sheyner has written a highly detailed review of the Peer Review Group’s report, released November 18, but only made public to us recently.

One might say that this is the fifth official critical assessment of the mismanagement of the CHSRA as it has moved from marketing a concept, to creating a reality. Through distortions mis- and dis-information, they were successful at marketing. But, now that reality has set in, their amateurism, self-serving politics and self-aggrandizement are in full display.

The peer review group indicates that all their criticism is meant to be constructive; that they wish the project to succeed.

I don’t see how that’s possible. The main mission of the group is to review and critique the CHSRA business plan. Even after four or five years, from well before the ’08 election until now, we have not seen an acceptable business plan.

One of the major elements, found severely wanting, is the ridership projection. Why are those so important?

The law, AB3034, requires a revenue surplus from the operation of the train. The train needs to be operational without any additional support of funding from the State or anyone else. The only way we can know if that’s possible is with “investment grade” ridership projections. If the rail authority cannot produce such honest numbers from independent sources, then they can’t produce an honest business plan and without that, the project must be terminated before it wastes any more money.

It is the responsibility of the peer review group to ascertain the legitimacy of the business plan. So far, it doesn’t look good for the rail authority and their endless number fudging.

The peer review group has the power to pull the plug. If they start stalling around about this, the ball is back in our court to do this for them with lawsuits. Let’s see how this all plays out in 2011.

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Posted by keithw
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on Dec 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Yet another report that makes clear that the emperor has no clothes. HSR is all smoke, mirrors and dipping at teh public trough, alas.

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Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Dec 8, 2010 at 4:34 pm

This report can be found and read at:

Web Link

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