Rail board chair Dan Richard responds to critical post

Dan Richard, the chair of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, sent this to Cal Watchdog in response to my Monday morning post:

“In his campaign to stop California from building the nation’s first high-speed rail system, Chris Reed (calwatchdog.com, June 9, 2014) continues to rely on distortion and misinformation, this time citing a recent erroneous account in the Los Angeles Times. On May 15, the newspaper published the following  from California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales:

‘”The Times’ recent story about California’s high-speed rail program may have left the strong impression among readers that project costs have increased.

‘”In fact, they have not.

‘”If anything, project costs have declined slightly compared with past estimates, and we continue to find ways to lower costs as the program proceeds.”‘

While there is no way to completely eliminate risk on a program of this scale, Mr. Reed should know that the California High-Speed Rail Authority continues to be subject to rigorous review by independent experts — including the California  High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group and the U.S. Government Accountability Office — and has implemented a state-of-the-art risk management program, which uses detailed modeling to quantify risk and incorporates best practices from programs worldwide.”

I’ll let Dan have his say and respond later this week.


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  1. Robert S. Allen
    Robert S. Allen 10 June, 2014, 07:47

    CHSRA “Blended Rail” plan is NEITHER SAFE NOR RELIABLE. (Prop 1A in 2008 called for “Safe and Reliable” HSR.)

    HSR to the Bay Area could be made safe and reliable by terminating the first phase at San Jose with nearly seamless transfers there with Caltrain, Capitol Corridor, VTA light rail, and the planned SV BART, and squandering no more HSR money on Caltrain.

    A second phase would upgrade the UP/Amtrak East Bay Mulford route as HSR to a transfer station at the BART overpass in Oakland. BART trains every four minutes reach San Francisco’s Embarcadero station in six minutes.

    Continue upgrading the UP/Amtrak route to Sacramento, with no costly new crossing under SF Bay. Much better, safer, more reliable, and less costly.
    Defer indefinitely the “one-seat ride” for San Francisco’s Hoity-Toity.

    Reply this comment
  2. Bob
    Bob 10 June, 2014, 17:22

    Well, you got the attention of this rascal so you’re sure doing something right.

    Reply this comment
  3. Dan Richard
    Dan Richard 10 June, 2014, 21:42

    Chris always has my attention. We just happen to disagree not this.


    Reply this comment
    • bob
      bob 11 June, 2014, 14:26

      Mr. Richards,

      The idea that what is listed below is technically and politically feasible, let alone affordable for an economically challenged state government with 100s of billions of unfunded pension and healthcare liabilites (to name just a couple of the challenges faced by the state) is sheer madness.

      The fact that people like you insist on pusning this madness through can only lead me to the conclusion that you are part of the web of special interests who will suck every penny from taxpayers until the entire project collapses. Sorry for being so cynical but it seems to be the only logical conclusion one can come to.

      The plan calls for bullet trains to shoot east from Bakersfield at 220 mph, climbing one of the steepest sustained high-speed rail inclines in the world. It would soar over canyons on viaducts as high as a 33-story skyscraper. The line would duck in and out of tunnels up to 500 feet below the rugged surface. It would cross more than half a dozen earthquake faults heading toward L.A.

      “Tunneling machines as long as a football field will have to be jockeyed into mountain canyons to do the heavy, back-breaking work once left to Chinese laborers. New access roads and a corridor for high-voltage power lines will have to be carved through the Tehachapis to feed power-hungry trains. When completed and fully operational, the bullet train will need an estimated 2.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity each day — about a quarter of Hoover Dam’s average daily output. …

      “One measure of the topographic challenge: Over that 141 miles from Bakersfield to Los Angeles, up to 59% of the track would run in tunnels or on viaducts, according to preliminary planning documents. …”

      Reply this comment
  4. Seanmorhamcpoly
    Seanmorhamcpoly 11 June, 2014, 06:06

    Mr.Richards, Please respond to Mr. Allen’s comments above. Silence is approval.

    Reply this comment

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