Friday, February 9, 2018

My Comment in the ABC News (Fresno, L.A.) reporting (circa Feb. 1, 2018)  of Calif. State Senators' Patterson and Beall's successful request to the legislature to audit (again) the CHSRA boondoggle:

Actually, the mentioned $65-$68B cost is only the CHSRA (disinformation amount to confuse drive-by superficial news coverage) number used for HSR from Bakersfield to San Jose. The previous $98B used was to LA (Lancaster) before the exponential cost of going *through* the Tehachapi's, now up an unknown amount. Also, does not include SF Bay Area's Caltrain HSR "upgrade" nor the $2-3B *estimated* tunneling to SF downtown. The monies for this horrible boondoggle could be better used for Ca's safety net needs for children, seniors, disabled, mentally ill, and education K-12, UC and CSU tuition reduction, etc etc. 

For transportation, finishing electrified, grade separated BART around the SF Bay is better spent, moves more people, with more frequency, safer, quieter, and zero cross-traffic congestion.

Improving and expanding CA's *real* mass (moves tens of millions daily) road transportation system and safety (where possible) is also a better use than the limited number of riders and workers and destinations. 
Below are samples of such important road projects across California: 
SR152 (Pacheco Pass 13 mi to 4-Lane), 
SR41 (Various from SR145 to US101, 
SR46 (Various from SR99 to SR1) 
SR43 (Fresno to SR99 deadly!), 
SR85 (Widen 1 lane each way, as designed)
SR140 (East of Merced to I-5), 
SR145 (I-5, or SR((to SR41) 
SR180 Fresno area), 
SR198 (finish 4-lane from Lemoore to I-5), 
SR58 (I-5 to SR99: 
SR58 (SR99 to Kramer's Corner widen, where needed (Tehachapi's), 
SR58 (4-lane@US395 Kramer's Junction to I-15 Barstow)
US395 (SR58 Ridgecrest to Kramer's Corner, to I-15)
SR65 (Porterville to SR99),
SR91 (Orange County SR57 to I-215)
SR65/SR104/SR148 (Sactamento Beltway), 
SR14 (Palmdale SR138 to Castaic SR14/I-5/I-210 Junctions), 
SR15 (US395 to Las Vegas, not a taxpayer subsidized HSR)
SR130 (SJ to I-5 to relieve horrid I-680 &I-580 Corridor) 
SR138 (near US395 Victorville to SR18 to I-5 Gorman to 4-lane)
SR74 (I-15-I-5) SR76, SR78, (SR73 no tolls) 
I-205, SR120, SR166/33 emergency ingress/egress (widen where necessary)and, importantly 
I-5 (widen from Wheeler Ridge (Grapevine) to Sacramento in existing right of way)
etc, etc, etc,

Buyout existing Toll Roads and toll lanes to stop exorbitant per mile fees for SOVs and other users that can exceed by well 20 times the average less-than $.05/mile CA state motor vehicle fees and taxes that the average car, truck motorist pays on non-toll roads.

Just as California's basic highway and freeway system was built by requisite, exclusive use of gas tax funds, by the California Constitution, until the dreaded 1972 Prop.5 opened 20% for any wasteful, subsidized, mass transit esp. light rail's 90% financial subsidy-sinkhole redux, then a vote to re-lock gas tax monies for roads--including for road mass transit). Limited near-profitable, or profitable grade-separated, electrified heavy rail (BART, for example) would be financially efficient when funded by the General Fund, and, if continuing Cap-and-Trade (ugh, i.e. oil, gasoline derivatives).

The above will take time and gas tax (and other?) monies, but is necessary to meet past (Jerry Brown's anti-freeway disability to 2017) average 3% CA road use growth and future inevitable growth, the monies would be better spent to serve citizens than  
for commerce, holiday, work/trade vehicles, buses, vans, passenger cars, heavy utility and cargo trucks, emergency vehicles, and all other of millions of unionized and non-union road users of all driving ages that would fund these; rather than the waste of well over $100B (some estimates of HSR from San Diego to Sacramento exceed $300B) that deprives so many safety net needy of critical, basic General Fund dollars that would pay the millions of dollars of just interest on HSR bonds, irrespective of the initial capital cost and operating cost, just because Jerry Brown says "I like trains" since he rode on one in his youth over 70 years ago. 

BART references are copied to my "BART around the Bay" blog.

Subscriber, member of American Highway Users Alliance and National Motorist Association Foundation, Silicon Valley Electric Vehicle Association, The Newspaper, Mass Transit magazines, etc.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Democrat's push for the lie of so-called "Livable" and "Sustainable" communities with the pacifier of "affordable housing" (with less-than-adequate parking for the lower income tenants). are nothing more than high-density developers profit-making, west of I-280 special interest Democrat donors are really nothing more than developer-backed special interest programs that hurt our beautiful, truly livable suburban quality of life where all occupants enjoy a well-balanced community that is served by adequate infrastructure and services.

VTA's effort to sell off public land now used for park-and-ride lots that were bought originally by taxpayers for our roads including interchanges is to increase revenue at the expense of future generations, including another government hit to the prosperity and life enjoyment of Millenniums.

Read Mark Levin's recent book "Plunder and Deceit" to understand the larger picture, but here is one comment that I made in the August 2017 Santa Clara County VTA Connections newsletter about yet another Park-and-Ride lot selloff for high-density projects that will clog our unwidened roads even more so VTA's greed can be satisfied as well as wealthy high-density developers who generally live in low-density, expensive communities.

Here goes my comment:

A "Livable" community to make "moving around more easily" means, in theory of high-density developers only, moving by VTA's recently cutback transit-only method only, but with much more difficulty by personal motor vehicles, SUVs, cars, Pickups, etc whether by auto-mobile, delivery or service vehicles, more congestion, more pollution, more GHG. This is VTA government B.S. Not that it will make any difference to the deaf VTA leadership (GM, BOD), I hope neighbors will attend to express concerns and protect our true quality-of-life, not the VTA government's obtuse socialist, central-planning misstep.
As demonstrated by recent nearby congestion-causing "moving around--but with more difficulty--Transit Oriented Developments, Palmia (over the old golf course), Village Oaks Urban Ghetto (aka "Village"), Transit-oriented density only congests city streets more, increasing the likelihood of vehicle collisions, property damage, slower traffic, and bicycle and pedestrian accidents, let alone density-oriented crime increase with SJ's deficient police force that picks and chooses crimes it chooses to dispatch.

Note: the reason for conversion of VTA park-and-ride lots (formerly often planned expressway or adjacent freeway ingress/egress ramps) is the unrealistic performance metric put upon the VTA General Manager's pay by the VTA Board of Directors to increase VTA's operating sell off "excess" land to raise revenue while increasing congestion and other dislocations against the nearby communities. If VTA really wanted to improve performance, they would pave over light rail snail-rail streetcar trackage to enable a real HOV lane that will move thousands more people daily, real mass transit by private and public bus, intercity and charter coaches, carpools, etc..


Thursday, August 20, 2015

Comments about California's need for added Gas and EV VMT tax increase proposals 08-19-2015

California desperately needs the state gasoline tax increase tied to road, repeat, road, that is, rubber-tired transportation systems for the vast motorist-users.  A simple gas-tax VMT, not congestion-priced 'road user fee', for EVs, ULEVs, and LEVs with EPA mileage rating above 50 mpg @.05 cents/mile (equivalent and fixed to gas excise and sales taxes aggregate cost per cents/mile).  Annual or bi-annual in-lieu smog checks of EVs automobiles can read their mileage change and automatically send to DMV as smog data is sent currently.
Secondly, but very important is that any tax or VMT must negate tolls on our roads, eliminate government's abuse of Congestion-Pricing to influence citizen behavior, and formally deny any of these monies for the HSR rip-off, waste, and cap-and-trade tax diversion boondoggle  that is based on the illegal and unconstitutional HSR 2008 Prop 1A ballot measure (per 3rd CA Appellate Court decision, January 2011 C60441),  
We need to improve our roads, like I-5 Grapevine to Sacramento, SR84-Fremont to Vacaville, SR130, finish SR152 from 156 to US101, SR156 Prunedale to Catroville, SR138 build Freeway from I-5 to SR18 Victorville, I-15 Nevada line to I210/I10/SR60/SR91 then to I-215. and so many more roads that not only take cars off local roads, improve safety via capacity increase, while generating net revenue, rather than govt-run transit that requires more major tax subsidies for every new additional route and product.  Transit should be primarily General Fund supported as a social purposed facility, and/or privatize appropriate transit operations to save $.
It is important to note that all of the organizations cited in the article all support California's rip-off High Speed Rail--and are Democrats or Democrat-run "Public Policy" groups, for example, BAC, SVLG, Gov. Brown ("I Like Trains," 1/27/15 at HSR groundbreaking ceremony who has always opposed roads and freeways in favor or LRT and HSR).  The huge, as yet undefined funding source, for this Calif. HSR Democrat political waste and wrongly diverted partly motorist and student tuition, low-income, disabled, in-home services social programs' diverted-funds project must be stopped, or at least segregated from critical rubber-tired mobility projects that this is billed for:"roads".  Democrats too often get away with using the Trojan Horse of road and pothole repairs and projects to fund their nefarious, crony-capitalist (high density, urban-congesting "TOD" fraud land owning and developer campaign contributing projects (Think Irvine Land Company among others (for BRT, LRT, HSR) and crony socialist (too many labor unions) and enviro-socialist big government, degrowth pushers (per Mark Levine) and Native Big infrastructure Destructialists, (Sierra Club, Center for Bio-Diversity, NRDC, TransForm and too many other environmentalist facade socialist advocacy front groups in my view, all underpinning Democrat Party political activists and politicians).

Yes gas tax and EV VMT tax/fees for rubber-tired multi-vehicular mobility, eliminate all tolls and congestion-pricing for government-owned roads and paid-off bridges. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

How many more must die by Caltrain- Another (suicide) death on the sacrifical CA High Speed Rail--Caltrain shill trackway, 8-2015, 60-since 2011, 219-since 1995

How many more must die on Caltrain's HSR surrogate tracks?   What can we do?

What we can do is fight to pressure the respective Democrat-controlled city/town councils along the Peninsula Rail Corridor to bring far safer, grade-separated--by law! to replace this 1864 (US Civil War, once Rural) trackway with electrified, quieter, more frequent, high-farebox recovery BART down the Peninsula. I've been doing this for the past 4 years, ever since a grandfather of 5 that I used to see in the supermarket was killed by a Caltrain, similar to the latest one near blossom Hill. Since I've been begging the city councils (right after many deaths occur) to open talks to extend BART and close the BART Around The Bay loop for safety in 2011--60 have died.   Also, demand at tonight's (most Mondays) 6:pm Palo Alto Council meeting that Palo Alto join the Atherton lawsuit against Caltrain-HSR Electrification as they cited multiple similar safety issues that are built-in to the Caltrain-HSR surface trackway. Remember, Caltrain tracks are the designated HSR trackway since 1995--13 years before the deceptive, unconstitutional ballot 2008 vote for Prop 1A HSR. (KCBS "Indepth" interview with CHSRA Chair Dan Richard, January 11, 2015: Gov. Jerry Brown, "...working for 30 years to bring HSR to California." Face the Nation interview with Bob Schiefer, 2012 (Caltrain was started in with Gov Brown funding in 1982) ).
Worse yet, the election of Sacramento Democrat machine puppets Liz Kniss and Sen. Hill's coy Cory Wolback have created a pro-HSR majority on the all-Democrat PA CC, so only public pressure from locals, esp. Democrat citizens, *might* get them to buck Sacramento's powerful Democrat machine--Peninsula Lives Matter!!!.  These kids and the 218 who have died on Caltrain's tracks since the 1995 decision by Sacto's CHSRA to use these tracks (same size as HSR, unlike BART's different track width). If HSR is to be then, it ought to go up the East Bay, not the more densely, and increasingly dense, dead-end (no pun) Peninsula Corrdior.  BART's elevated, tunnel, or trench requirement will save lives. The sooner we start to get BART, now that all counties have voted for it, and PA and MV voters in 2008 both voted (Measure A) by over 2/3 to tax themselves for BART additional 1/8 cent, then the sooner these deaths, even suicides, will be reduced due to harder to access tracks--but the citizens and councils and all levels of govt (Dem) must form a consensus to work with VTA and SamTrans to collaborate with BART and get funding.  BART will have the newer cars then--and allow bicycles more as well 
The sooner we start this effort, the sooner the 15-20 year plan-fund-build work will replace Caltrain-HSR street-level tracks with BART grade separated tracks.  As I have repeatedly advised PA, MP, MV councils, that still means these higher speed, horizontal-guillotine violent  dismemberment or crushing deaths, especially by the higher speed (Baby) Bullet trains will amount to about 200 more dead on the tracks.  How many more must die before we work to stop this sad, horrorific situation in our midst?  We voters in the SF Peninsula area should have started in 2000 when SM and SC county voters overwhelmingly voted to support BART, 15 years ago, but late is better than never--especially for those who are toddlers today!

One can only wonder if others are dying in California along tracks secretly held frozen, without improvement for better, safer service, by Gov. Jerry Brown and other Rail Foamers in Southern California and Central California?

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Latest deathcount on Democrats' CA HSR sacrificial Altar of Death: Caltrain of SF Bay Area

Palo Alto, Menlo Park, Mountain View, Burlingame voters must understand that Caltrain is and has been the placeholder for CHSRA High-Speed Rail placeholder from Sacramento-based Democrat Party and their local Democrat zombie puppets, Stepford Wives and Zombiers.  To them, it does not matter how many die, how violently since they decided in about 1995 to use Caltrain's tracks. 218 dead since 1995, 7 dead this year, and 59 dead since I started going to the PA aned MP City Councils in 2011 (to meetings after most deaths) to at least 10% each year 

This is the powerful state Democrat agenda, that unless Demcrats Hill, Speier, Eshoo, Honda, "oh so clever" Burt, are convinced to change their positions and support Atherton's Caltrain Electrification lawsuit--that lays out all the reasons for the recent and past track deaths, and fight Caltrain-HSR "improvements" rather than the far safer, same cost, electrified, no horns, more frequent service of BART, then the deaths will occur.  Despite MP's crocodile tears at recent meetings, and the unfunded underpass notion, the real solution is a consensus of Peninsula cities unified to fight the coming state Eminent Domain power of CHSRA and work to bring down BART to join with SJ/SC coming station. Unfortunately, another 200 will die during this planning-construction 20 year period. Too bad we didn't start planning and building BART southward from Millbrae back in 2000 when both counties voters approved BART to join the others around the Bay. 

Bottom line is that the Democrat power politics of CHSRA and its capitalist (profiteers) and socialist (leftist environmental, especially local Sierra Club and high-density (Smart Growth/Sustainable) central planning crony advocates will continue the deaths unabated, even if HSR comes through-no money for Grade Separations and its need for 20% operating funds from HSR-owned (Eminent Domain) retail and denser property values with 1/2 mile of stations--including Palo Alto. 
  • Caltrain deaths are politically enabled as the Peninsula's placeholder, since 1995, for state and local Democrat's desire to impose inappropriate HSR into California. 
  • (Listen to CHSRA Chair's interview on KCBS, 740 AM, January 11, 2015, and, Rod Diridon Sr's comments on KBAY 94.5, Sunday March 01, 2015 Sunday a.m. radio broadcast w/ Sam van Sant) 
  • BART requires, by law, grade separation to zero-out such conflicrts with traffic and avoid many all-too-easy suicides, but it must complete the last 30 miles down the Peninsual from Millbrae to Santa Clara to loop the Bay for bi-directional doubling of capacity, not HSR

The voters of Peninsula voters have to stop being "Gruber-ized" by clever Democrat politicians and influence or elect those who are openly oppsed to Gov. Brown's "Moonbeam" HSR (not Democrat appeasers) and its devastating effects and higher taxes on adjacent communities, but more importantly on our lives.
Assembly Candidate George Yang, who ran for statewide office in 2014, and is likely to run in 2016 understands all this, supports BART around the Bay, including the Peninsula Caltrain replacement, and, if HSR cannot be stopped, then to run HSR up the East Bay to Oakland for riders to use BART from SJ or Oakland to get to SF, and, later, HSR will have a straight track to Sacramento by the demonstrably busy I-80 corridor--as Amtrak does now and with the Capitol Corridor trains..

[Similarly posted on Palo Alto Patch, 03-05-2015]

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Two more Caltrain-HSR shill's sacrificial HSR Altar of Death-suicides in do-little Palo Alto Council's City

On October 15, 2014 a 19-year old, 1-year post-high school graduate committed suicide, according to Caltrain's administration, near the Charleston Road crossing,  by placing himself in front of an oncoming urban Caltrain street-level commuter rail placeholder (for High Speed Rail)...yet another of Governor Jerry Brown's and California Democrat Party political sacrifice...on his vanity(vanity per Kashkari) project HSR, and its altar of (easy access) death.

On November 4, 2014 another teenager, 16 years old from Palo Alto's Gunn High School, Caltrain suspects committed suicide around 1:00 am just south of Palo Alto's California Street station.   This is yet another of Governor Jerry Brown's and California Democrat Party political sacrifice...on his vanity("vanity project" per Neel Kashkari, former 2014 candidate for Governor) project HSR, and its altar of (easy access) death. '

I am concerned that these all-too-easy fatalities, whether by accident or suicide or whatever, amounting to 9 this year, 2014; 50 since 1/1/2011, 210th since 1/1/1995, are a continuing result of the one-party, e.g., Democrat, majority rule, monopoly, and obedience of the unified result of San Francisco Bay Area political bodies at local, county, regional, state, and federal levels who have united to support their insensitive, uncaring, ego-driven Democrat Governor and the cronies who support him, regardless of how many die on these outdated trackage, a deadly embarrassment to Silicon Valley's innovation, creative, and "creative destruction attitude that prevails up the SF Bay Peninsula--except for this long-time deadly street level HSR shill--Caltrain.  Even HSR is currently set to be at street level, thus terminating those people on its shared street tracks, but at 110 mph instead of Caltrain's up  to 75 mph speed (whether by accident or suicide).

It is past time to start work to replace Caltrain-HSR shill with a safer, electrified, street-separated, zero traffic congesting, bay area wide, integrated real mass transit system--BART.   Replacing the Caltrain-HSR shill will cost about the same as "upgrading" the outdated Caltrain-HSR train from SJ to SF by replace it with BART for the final 30 miles up the Peninsula, to seamlessly connect and close the Bay Area loop with Eastbay commuters to/from the Peninsula's Silicon Valley employers.  BART should save many more lives due to its legally required street separation.  Unfortunately, replacing Caltrain-HSR with BART will take about 15-20 years, thus another 200 deaths of friends, neighbors, and others on Caltrain-HSR tracks.  But, the effort will only start with public/voter pressure on local, regional, and state Democrat officeholder sufficient to overcome Governor Brown, the (anti-human) Sierra Club, Big Labor, and Democrat-led Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Bay Area Council go-along, get-along business members.

Here is a 2010 article response Comment about these unfortunate deaths and the Mineta Transportation Institute's so-called "Correction" about Caltrain deaths, for some background:

 Important footnote:  In 2010 the earmark, specially Democrat funded "Mineta Institute for Transportation" //(MIT) was headed and, from my own experience, an anti-automobile, pro-rail federal and state Democrat funded advocacy "institute" (hah!!!!) thus any such "Correction": as noted above that downplays the extreme danger of this outrageous, out-of-place, ought-to-be, and once was pre-urban, rural commuter train that runs through increasingly dense SF Bay Area Peninsula cities at street level (causing huge cross and parallel traffic delays must be viewed from MIT's  "rail foamer" bigotry.  The hidden agenda is the scandal that not only prevents electrified street-separated BART from replacing this deadly Caltrain (210 dead since 1995, 50 since 1/1/2011, and 9 so far this year on this historic (1864 US Civil War built) trackage, but that Caltrain is really the Peninsula placeholder for the CA and Bay Area Democrats' High-speed rail corridor--regardless of how many lives must be sacrificed by suicide or accident.  As Gov Jerry Brown and MIT's then-ExecDir, former CAHSRA now US HSR head, Rod Diridon Sr said, in separate media (CBS Face-the-Nation with Bob Schiefer), Kbay, Southbay Sunday with Sam van Zandt) interviews, verbatim that "I've been working for 30 years to bring high speed rail to California...." HSR was only approved in 2008, though the CAHSRA had been funded for over a decade by Sacramento Democrat legislators.  Additionally, I allege that the last two-lanes 13 miles of SR152 Pacheco Pass near Gilroy that kills and injures a number of people every year (4 dead this year alone) because it was determined by local Democrats to be extorted into an improved 4 lane congestion-priced toll road whose excess revenue (about $2Billion to 2040) could help fund the adjacent planned HSR.  That is the full story of the result of one-party Democrat monopoly control of all local, county, regional, state, and federal elected and appointed boards--and the two leading business leadership groups in cahoots.  By the way, another two suicides occurred on the Palo Alto Caltrain-HSR tracks in the past 3 weeks--but public officials (Democrat- controlled) will do nothing in sacrificial service to their crony-capitalist (or, perhaps, crony Socialist)HSR god.  If HSR is to be, then it should follow the existing Amtrak route to San Jose, then Oakland to points east, not the few riders heading to SF.

Monday, September 22, 2014

9/20/14-- 2 more deaths on Democrat politicians' California High Speed Rail extortion Sacrificial Altar of Death delayed transportation facilities

Another 2 deaths, Saturday 9/20/2014, on SF Bay Area's Democrat Party politicians' High Speed Rail (outdated) Sacrificial transportation facilities' Altar of Death:   on the remaining 2-lane farm-to-market deadly 13 miles that leads (shockingly) into of SR152 Pacheco Pass, that I contend (after over 30 years of Santa Clara County citizen and motorist transportation advocacy, including for the early 1990's widening and now SR85 freeway) is directly related to holding back on a search for funding to widen this stretch to far safer 4-lanes in order to extort/fool the public that a toll road is the only way to build this.  Not true though. The real reason these people die (~7 year, plus injuries, property damage and costly congestion and related delays on this highway stretch since about 2004 when CAHSR Chair and rail advocate Rod Diridon Sr (now head of the USHSR Association) announced this would be the route of the future HSR.  Making SR152 Pacheco Pass a toll road would, according to official Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (SCVTA) past and current plan, VTP 2040, generate via the deadly extortion of widening it to a 4-lane Congestion Priced Toll Road over $2 Billion more than needed to construct and maintain it.  The $2Billion would be used to help fund the HSR through the Pass. Until Los Banos rejected a SR152 through its town, the plan had been to makie SR152 from Gilroy to Maders a CP Toll Road. SCVTA has NOT searched for grants, earmarks, or ARRA funds (like the Prunedale bypass, SR46 from Paso Robles to Lost Hills, etc) deliberately to drive for a motorist -CP Tolled windfall to flow to the HSR windfall.  Worse yet, HSR is and has been without public knowledge until last year, the reason that the easy Suicide/Accident killer train Caltrain continues to exist, rather than planning to finally encircle the SF Bay with one high capacity, frequent, safer, electrified, street-separated ( (zero congestion on nearby roads) rail sysstem: BART Around the Bay, as originally planned. Caltrain's outdated (1864) trackage have seen 7 people killed this year on its 64 miles of track, 48 since 2011, and 208 since 1994. Jerry Brown (and Diridon) admitted in separate on-air 2012 media interviews that they have been working to bring HSR "to California for 30 years". Caltrain was started in 1982 with initial 3 year funding by the first Jerry Brtown admiinistration.

Christie's so-called GW Bridgegate is nothing compared to this deadly SR152 Pacheco Pass and Caltrain scandal. It is particularly outrageous and egregious that these two deadly transportation facilities continue to kill and congest and pollute (think GHG) without funding to deliberately feed future HSR.  This is only possible because of the Democrat monopoly of SF Bay Area transportation politics who march together like Stepford Wive Zombies for HSR, no matter the human cost.  Neel Kashkari has been advised of this scandal, but does not seem to realize that Jerry Browm's Achilles Heel is his anti-motorist, anti-road, costly pro-HSR actions, some of which contribute to these accidents, deaths, and GHG.