A Word About This Site

Important Note: This site is designed to be a one stop shopping place for information relevant to the HSR project, the potential impacts to our communities and how to participate in the process. Since this is an all volunteer effort, a lack of funding relegates us to using the freeby sites. With no perfect fit available, this site is being treated like a hybrid blog/website. Like a blog, it is not stagnant, but like a website, information is categorized. Therefore one should not treat it as a blog by always looking for only the latest entry, yet periodically refer back to older posts for updated information. To make it easier, HSR-PREP has a newsletter designed to be used in conjunction with this site. If you wish to be notified of new information appearing on the site, it is recommended that you sign up for the HSR-PREP Newsletter. Another way is to create an RSS link on your homepage.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved. If you have any issues at all with the high speed rail project as it exists, if you say and do nothing, it means you agree 100%. We are all busy in our lives. This cannot be used as an excuse later. If you have issues, you must participate in the process or forever hold your peace. Call, email or write your legislators. It takes 15 minutes using their websites. Participate in the public input opportunities with the High Speed Rail Authority (HSRA). But don't wait.
Spread the word. Be informed. Get involved.

The Business Plan

The Business Plan.

  • General Library of business plans, appendices, summaries, etc.on HSRA site.

  • 2009 Business Plan December 2009 (142 pages)

  • Legislative Analyst Office's (LAO) Report on the 2009 Business Plan Jan 2010 (9 pages)

  • Addendum to the 2009 Business Plan April 2010 in response to LAO Report(45 pages)

  • April 15, 2010 Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Subcomittee Hearing on HSR with Senators Joe Simitian and Alan Lowenthal. See the video.

  • April 14, 2010. Letter from Congress asking the White House for a designated funding source for HSR. Since adequate funding is really at the root of the issue, how the administration responds will likely determine whether or not HSR lives or dies locally and nationwide.

  • Ronald Utt, Ph.D., an economics advisor to President Reagan, wrote this piece on the economics of high speed rail, addressing whether or not they operate with or without subsidy.

  • California State Auditor Report 2009-106 Summary April 2010. Congresswoman Jackie Speier has deep concerns about HSR stemming from the Auditors' Report and talks about a house of cards in an interview on KCBS radio AM740 on May 16, 2010 (discusses HSR about 5/8 of the way through).

  • GAO (United States Government Accountability Office) Report to Congressional Committees "HIGH SPEED RAIL Learning From Service Start-ups, Prospects for Increased Industry Investment, and Federal Oversight Plans" June 2010

  • Assemblywoman Fiona Ma interview, April 2010, Peninsula TV's "1 on 1". A little out of touch. Interviewer: "So then does this project already own the right of way through Caltrain, or will this project need to obtain right of ways through these communities?" FM: "As I understand, these right of ways are already obtained." Incorrect. The RoW is controlled by Caltrain, not HSR. Caltrain does not have to let HSR use it. She listed the three points of the lawsuit: Noise and Vibration and Pacheco versus Altamont. No, the third was the Union Pacific RoW between Gilroy and San Jose.

  • Congresswoman Anna Eshoo speaks up, "we need high-speed rail on the Peninsula to be a betterment, not a detriment." "That the High Speed Rail Authority needs to prove itself is beyond any doubt. Authority representatives - many of them well meaning - have proven repeatedly to be ineffective and even counterproductive in the way they have approached the project and the public. Frankly, they could not have been better at damaging their own credibility and the credibility of the project if they had planned it."

  • State Treasurer Bill Lockyer: Investors doubt rail project's viability; bonds tough sell. See the July 14, 2010 Sacramento Bee article. "I hear from the world of Wall Street investment bankers about what they think makes sense. And almost universally, they're convinced that no one can finance the routes from L.A. to the Bay Area that it just will never work economically, certainly in the foreseeable future."

  • October 11, 2010. Finance and business experts released a highly critical financial review of the proposed California High-Speed Rail Project. You can read the whole review (compliments of CC-HSR) or read this summary for the Examiner by Kathy Hamilton. "...we are forced to conclude the Authority's promise seems an impossible goal."

  • October 27, 2010. Inspector General reports some improvement with internal documentation, however major issues remain unresolved that would prevent the spending of Bond money which would hold up spending of ARRA funds. They found that the HSR Authority paid 38% of public funds, or $3.44 million, to contractors without asking for timesheets, work summaries or other documentation to prove how the bill was tabulated. Among other unresloved issues are the peer review and the revenue guarantee (subsidy) issues. The full report can be viewed here.

  • November 18, 2010. The California High Speed Rail Peer Review Group has grave concerns about the project. Read the complete report here. "...there is an air of unreality about a plan that includes $17 to $19B in "free" federal funding from programs that do not exist."

  • April 13, 2011. No money will be allocated for high-speed rail projects for the remainder of 2011. Federal Rail Administration officials claim that they lost what amounts to $1.4 billion in funds for high-speed rail. See this CNN article here.

  • August 25, 2011. California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Vice Chair Lynn Schenk admitted that the HSRA's previous business plans were really nothing more than sales tools. She said, “that first business plan was more of a sales and marketing piece than it was in the nature of a proxy.” Watch the video here.

  • November 1, 2011. Here it is folks, the latest in the fantasmagorical ride made up of pixie dust and dreams called HSR in California...the latest business plan is coming your way at $98B. No, I did not misplace the decimal. And even better, the HSRA claims the system will still make money even at the lowest ridership numbers. Huh?! Seriously. Oh yes. And none of those in charge seem concerned. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. All I can say is they just don't care. This is brazen arrogance. The bond measure was sold to the voters on the basis that the entire system from SF to Anaheim would only cost $33B at a total cost of $9B + interest to the CA tax payers. Since passing, increasing costs have outpaced additional funding by almost 20:1 and construction has not even begun. Has our legislature completely lost all touch with reality? (Don't answer that question.) Too see the latest business plan, it is posted on the HSRA site here.

IMO, until the HSRA can prove otherwise, it is safe to say, despite the legal (bond measure) requirements to the contrary, if HSR construction is allowed by the legislators to be started, it will require public subsidy by the CA taxpayers in order to complete.

You may have heard it referenced that the true cost will be closer to $80B. Where does the $80B estimate originate from? The Reason Foundation's September 2008 "The California High Speed Rail Proposal: A Due Diligence Report" estimated the true cost will be somewhere between $65B and $81B. It also projected fewer riders by 2030 than officially estimated: 23-31 million riders a year instead of the 65-96 million initially forecasted by the Rail Authority. It will be interesting to see how their predictions fare over time. The HSRA has since downgraded its ridership estimates to about 40M with the increase in fare price from $55 to $104.75.

Hoover Institution's April & May 2010 "The Trouble with High Speed Rail".

The Heritage Foundation speaks out with this slide show on Vimeo.

Consider this: If the national HSR system costs $1T, that equates to $4761 for every registered voter. If the California HSR system costs $80-100B, that equates to $4624-5780 for every registered voter. Now, double these figures to include the debt service associated with the capital costs. These figures (roughly speaking) include only costs to build, not to operate or maintain. Assuming it could be paid over ten years, would a national or state HSR system be worth almost $10,000 for each voter ($1000/year) in your household?

The Tally - Funds for HSR Specifically.

State Money.

November 4, 2008. $9B of $9.95B Prop 1A Bond measure to be used for HSR. Can only be spent if matching funds are found.

Federal Money.

January 28, 2010. $2.25B = $1.85B for HSR + $400M for TransBay Terminal to be matched 100% by state bond money. (from $8B national ARRA pot, $4.7B was applied for). An additional $100M to be used for conventional rail.

October 25, 2010. $715M matched 30% by state funds for use in Central Valley(from $2.4B national FRA pot funding awarded under the High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail (HSIPR) Program). An additional $186M to be used upgrades to Peninsula. To see the FRA application requirements, click here.

December 9, 2010. $616M in ARRA funds rescinded from other states to be matched 100% by state bond money.

September 8, 2011. Total funding is now at $6.3B ($3.5B federal and $2.8B useable state bond money). Cost estimates have risen from $33B to $67B. The Obama administration had asked for $8 billion for fiscal 2012 for high-speed rail projects, including the one in California, as well as other passenger rail programs around the country. The House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development on Thursday cut Obama's request by nearly $7 billion, leaving money only to operate Amtrak and some smaller programs.

Private Money.