Rail Design and Safety Veteran Requests Immediate Stop Order for the California High-Speed Rail Project’s Fresno to Madera Section

Rail design and safety veteran Susan MacAdams has requested an immediate stop-work order for the Fresno to Merced section, also referred to as Construction Package 1 (CP-1). MacAdams is a Track and Alignment Expert with previous experience working for the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) and the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

She raises concerns about the dangerous mix of track curves, elevations and spirals, and suggests that they are more appropriate for amusement park rides.

MacAdams has yet to study the curves in Construction Package 2-3 (CP 2-3) which runs from Fresno to Bakersfield, but feels that if she were to, she “would come to the same conclusions.”

For years, the leadership of Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) has heard rumors about flaws in the design of the track alignment for the California High-Speed Rail. We’ve heard that certain “Japanese engineers” are astounded about how the state is building the track. In fact, there is credible documentation that outlines the specific problems with track design.

The email below was sent by Ms. MacAdams on April 11, 2018 to the CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and is a public record. We believe it’s the start of a series of devastating revelations about the track design.


April 11, 2018

To: Brian P. Kelly
Chief Executive Officer
California High Speed Rail Authority
770 L Street, Suite 620
Sacramento, CA 95814

RE: REQUEST FOR IMMEDIATE STOP WORK ORDER FOR MERCED TO FRESNO SECTION

Public Safety should be paramount in any track design for High Speed Rail (HSR), but the design for the track curves across the Herndon Overpass structure north of Fresno is a public safety hazard and poses a serious threat to derailment.

California High-Speed Rail Alignment Merced to Fresno - Attachment 1B

California High-Speed Rail Alignment: Merced to Fresno

Background

Building straight tracks along the UPRR corridor from Merced to Fresno was the shortest route for HSR.

In 2012, the track route called the Hybrid was chosen by the Authority. This route veers from the UPRR corridor and zig-zags across open farmland. The sixty mile straight route now contains nearly 25 miles of high speed curves and horizontal super-elevated spirals with an additional ten miles of track. Trains will travel over the curves and spirals on ballasted track built on alluvial soil at 220 mph. The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) officials continue to state that this route between Merced and Fresno is the backbone of the high speed rail system, yet this backbone has developed scoliosis, or curvature of the spine; the area in question will need a spinal brace.

(See Attachment 1A and Attachment 1B for Merced to Fresno Section alignment.)

This is a request for an immediate Stop Work Order for the Fresno to Merced section to reevaluate the curve designs. This report focuses only on the curve north of Fresno between Herndon Drive and the San Joaquin River. However, similar alignment flaws are shown on the Authority’s construction drawings in Madera County for the Chowchilla Boulevard/UPRR Bridge, the Fresno River Bridge, the two single track crossovers between Avenue 10 and 12, and the entire Wye complex surrounding the storage facility site. Each of these high speed rail curves should be re-evaluated, realigned and reconfigured as they each contain similar alignment problems that will lead to future operational and maintenance hazards and derailments.

Dangerous Design

North of Herndon Drive in Fresno, near the San Joaquin River, there is a wide support structure for high speed rail currently being constructed over a single UPRR track. (See Attachment 2 and Attachment 3.) As the HSR tracks curve northwards, this wide track support structure transitions into tall support columns. (See Attachment 4 and Attachment 5.) The trains will travel at 220 mph on top of these 60 to 100 foot tall structures. Near the transitional area between the wide deck and the support columns, the track design calls for a combination of overlapping horizontal and vertical curves. This combination violates the Authority’s own Criteria for safe track design. The track design is extremely dangerous; this track design cannot be easily built or safely maintained, thereby creating a significant risk of derailment.

The Draft Environmental Report, the Final Environmental Report and the Construction Documents all use the same curve design for this track; the two sets of environmental documents are identical. This is non-standard practice for good curve design. Usually, in critical locations such as this, between the draft, final and construction documents, multiple track designs are evaluated in order to determine the best and safest fit. For this alignment, there was only one proposal. A single drawing from the Final EIR will be used for ease of argument.

For five years, I was the Manager of Metro’s Green Line track contracts in Los Angeles. This included the Aviation Wye, which is located on the southern boundary of the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). The size and type of the structures near LAX are similar to the size and type structures from Herndon Drive to the San Joaquin River. On the Los Angeles project, there were many track alternatives studied before the trackway was built. There is not any evidence of any other track design proposed for this critical structure near the San Joaquin River.

At the overlap of vertical and horizontal curves, the tracks begin to curve away from the large structure; three mathematical models are needed to construct the tracks, an unsafe track engineering practice. (See Attachment 6, Attachment 7, and Attachment 8.) A horizontal spiral curving outwards is built on top of a vertical curve going downwards. (See Attachment 9.) The tracks will be super-elevated from zero to six inches on one side, while the trains are spiraling downwards on a maximum grade slope across the top of a vertical curve. Normal track design does not allow this combination except in amusement parks and coal mines; this is not Disneyland and all of the curvature for HSR should be seriously investigated. The northbound train has the greatest potential for derailment when traveling across the peak of the vertical curve. Maintaining a slower speed may actually make things worse.

This combination of curves is avoided in rail and roadway design criteria, including the CHSRA Criteria. (See Attachments 10A, 10B, 10C and 10D and the criteria of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – AASHTO)

For high speed rail, due to the large radius and length of curves, there can be some overlap at the edges. But in this case, the horizontal spiral and the vertical curve are on top of one another. It will be impossible to build, maintain and operate trains safely over this combination.

Fresno suffers from extreme heat and cold. This will result in extremes in the expansion and contraction of the rail and the structures. Rail and concrete expand and contract at different rates. Has this been taken into account in the curve designs that are built on the structures? (See Attachment 11.)

Summary: Combining a horizontal spiral that increases from zero to six inches of super-elevation with a maximum grade vertical curve built on top of a transitional structural support system in a geographical area that experiences extreme temperature range is very dangerous for trains traveling at any speed. This is a request to immediately issue a Stop Work Order to the Contractor for all structures on the Merced to Fresno segment of California High Speed Rail.

Please see additional attachments for further information.

Thank you for your cooperation in this matter.

Susan MacAdams
Track and Alignment Expert
Former High Speed Rail Planning Manager,
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro)
Metro Red, Blue and Green Lines, Los Angeles
Light and Heavy Rail Track Design and Construction: Baltimore, Boston, & Washington DC
susan.macadams@gmail.com

New Business Plan for California High-Speed Rail Slices Through San Joaquin Valley at Much Higher Cost to Taxpayers

On March 9, the California High-Speed Rail Authority released its Draft 2018 Business Plan and asked for public comments about it.

According to the new business plan, the cost of Phase 1 construction between San Francisco and Los Angeles/Anaheim is now estimated at $77.3 billion. The route is expected to be completed in 2033.

Read the plan: California High-Speed Rail Authority Draft 2018 Business Plan and consider commenting about it using this web site: Draft 2018 Business Plan Comments.

California High-Speed Rail Cost Increase to $77.3 Billion

California High-Speed Rail Cost Increase to $77.3 Billion

How has the plan changed in ten years?

One dramatic change is cost and scope. Proposition 1A authorized the state to borrow $9.95 billion to get the project going. Information about Proposition 1A in the November 2008 Official Voter Information Guide stated that “the total cost to develop and construct the entire high-speed train system would be about $45 billion.”

This $45 billion “entire high-speed trail system” included service to Sacramento and San Diego as well as the route between San Francisco and Los Angeles. It also assumed dedicated track for the entire system, as opposed to the current “blended” plan in which high-speed trains share track with commuter light rail at the “bookends” near San Francisco and Los Angeles.

See the text of Proposition 1A and the ballot material related to it: Prop 1A: Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train Bond Act.

In 2008, supporters of Proposition 1A declared in their official ballot argument to voters that “signers of the ballot argument against Proposition 1A are habitual opponents of transportation improvements. Their claims are wrong and their data simply made up.”

Ten years later, it is proven that opponents of Proposition 1A were indeed wrong. They underestimated how bad it was going to be!

Meanwhile, the groups making money off of California High-Speed Rail continue to push for the project to continue. The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, a coalition of unions with a monopoly on the construction workforce for the project, issued a statement on March 9 supporting the 2018 Business Plan: SBCTC Statement on California’s New High Speed Rail Plan.

With politically powerful unions continuing to support this project, the spending will continue until the courts finally stop it. Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) and other organizations will continue to argue to the judicial branch that the state’s legislative and executive branches have failed to uphold the promises made to voters in Proposition 1A.

In the meantime, the property takings and cultural erosion of agricultural communities far away from San Francisco and Los Angeles will continue at the hands of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. Join Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) in the campaign to stop this misguided plan targeted at the San Joaquin Valley. Make a contribution to our fight here.

CCHSRA Remembers Cherylyn Smith

There are many individuals whom the Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) have met along the way in the fight for accountability of the California High-Speed Rail project. Over the years, we have become a tight-knit family.

Cherylyn Smith speaks at the June 9, 2015 California High-Speed Rail Authority board meeting.

We first met our friend Cherylyn Smith outside a California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) board meeting in Fresno, California in May 2012. She did not have property in the pathway, but was a very concerned citizen. She was actually leaving the meeting with another concerned individual, but went back in after making our acquaintance.

Cherylyn wanted to know more and wanted to help out the cause. We became fast friends and spoke about issues that impacted those who felt they had no voice and/or were fearful to use theirs. She was never afraid to use her voice to help others on any issue.

Over the past half decade, Cherylyn traveled up and down the Central Valley and California to learn more and educate others about the detrimental environmental impacts of the high-speed rail project. She spoke passionately at legislative hearings and board meetings in Sacramento as well as at the marathon rail board Los Angeles meeting in June 2015. She attended meetings in Bakersfield, Fresno and the South Valley including those for the air board, city and county. She was also active in many other causes and traveled the state for those as well. Cherylyn was also proof positive that issues impacting others were not partisan in nature.

Cherylyn Smith…wife, mom, grandmother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, granddaughter of farmers, friend, activist, teacher, journalist, radio host and a very deeply concerned citizen. Her passion for environmental issues and giving a voice to those unable to represent themselves was admirable. If everyone had just an ounce of the passion she had in fighting for what is right, the world would be problem-free.

We honor our dear, wonderful, smart, passionate and caring friend Cherylyn who left us too soon to go to Heaven on Wednesday, January 17, 2018.

Our CCHSRA family will never forget how much she cared and our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time.

Rest in Peace, Cherylyn.

Read CHERYLYN ROSARIA SMITH’s Obituary in the Fresno Bee

As Expected, Cost Soars for First Construction Segment of California High-Speed Rail

Everyone knew it was coming – even the board and top executives of California High-Speed Rail Authority.

At the Authority’s January 16, 2018 board meeting, board members received a “Central Valley Cost Update” presentation. The news was – as usual – bad.

The Madera to Fresno first construction segment is now $1.2 billion higher than the original estimate. And the Fresno to Kern County second and third construction segments are now $700 million higher than the original estimate.

Construction Package 1 (with Highway 99 improvements) is now estimated to cost $3.4 billion. Few people remember the public relations bonanza for the California High-Speed Rail Authority in June 2013, when the Authority board awarded that package at the low, low bid of $985 million. (Approved change orders for that contract as of November 30, 2017 have already increased the project cost by $355.6 million.)

The total estimated cost of the Initial Construction Segment (Madera to Shafter) is now $10.6 billion. And this is the cheap, easy part of the route: flat farmland.

Few people remember that in November 2008 voters approved Proposition 1A and authorized the state to borrow $9.95 billion to get the project underway. Some of that money was spent in other parts of the state on planning and “connectivity projects” such as train cars for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) district.

In the meantime, Governor Jerry Brown and the governing majority in the California state legislature continue to support the project. Repeated efforts by Assemblyman Jim Patterson to initiate audits of the California High-Speed Rail Authority have failed to pass the Joint Legislative Audit Committee. Lobbyists for big corporations and labor unions boost the project, in defiance of reality.

Meanwhile, Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) continues to pursue its lawsuit contending that the Authority has failed to comply with Proposition 1A. But as construction creeps forward through prime farmland and quiet agricultural communities (yes, land is already being torn up), cost overruns – or a fiscally responsible new Governor – may stop the project before the courts do.

PRIMARY SOURCES

California High-Speed Rail Authority Central Valley Cost Update – January 16, 2018

Construction Package 1 (CP-1) Monthly Status Report Through November 30, 2017

SAMPLE OF NEWS MEDIA REPORTS

California Bullet Train Cost Surges by $2.8 Billion: ‘Worst-Case Scenario Has Happened’ – Los Angeles Times – January 16, 2018

Is High-Speed Rail Dying? This Could Be a Crucial Year for the Troubled Project – Fresno Bee – January 18, 2018

Legislative Leaders Reject Request for Urgent Audit of California High-Speed Rail

In 2017, California-based news media has relentlessly reported the failures and setbacks of California High-Speed Rail, as documented by Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA):

California High-Speed Rail Summer Highlights, Part 1: Lack of Leadership

California High-Speed Rail Summer Highlights, Part 2: Failed Promises

California High-Speed Rail Summer Highlights, Part 3: Community Disruption

Some legislators noticed what was happening. On November 14, 2017, Assemblymember Jim Patterson of Fresno asked the Joint Legislative Audit Committee for an urgent audit of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. The chair of the committee rejected the request on November 27, 2017: Joint Legislative Audit Committee Denies Patterson Request for Urgent California High School Rail Authority Audit.

Joint Legislative Audit Committee Denies Patterson Request for Urgent California High School Rail Authority Audit

NEWS MEDIA COVERAGE

Request for Emergency Audit of Bullet-Train Project Is Denied by Legislature LeadershipLos Angeles Times – November 27, 2017

Leading Dem Supports Patterson’s HSR Audit RequestGVWire.com – November 27, 2017

Fresno Assemblyman Says He Won’t Take No for an Answer on High Speed Rail Audit – KMPH Fox 26 News (Fresno) – November 29, 2017

Put California Bullet Train Audit on the Fast TrackLos Angeles Daily News (editorial) – November 30, 2017

Take Five: Newsom on HSR Audit, Toxic MasculinityGVWire.com – November 30, 2017

California High-Speed Rail Summer Highlights, Part 3: Community Disruption

Contrary to the claims of the taxpayer-funded California High-Speed Rail Authority Communications Department, the summer of 2017 was grim for the future of California High-Speed Rail.

Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) continually tracks developments (or lack of developments) for this costly, misguided high-speed rail plan. We see several trends ongoing with this project. The third is Community Disruption.

If your hobby is horticulture, you have one less place to get your plants and gardening products:

Northwest Fresno Nursery Shuts Down to Make Room for High-Speed Rail – ABC 30 News – September 17, 2017

Even businesses not targeted for demolition are worried:

More High-Speed Rail Closures, Detours Coming. That Worries Downtown Business OwnersFresno Bee – September 11, 2017

HSR Concerns in Fresno’s Chinatown – KSEE Channel 24 News (NBC) – September 13, 2017

California High-Speed Rail is supposed to discourage driving, and Fresno is experiencing a taste of the future:

Road Linking Downtown to Chinatown Will Be Closed for 2 Years for Bullet Train WorkFresno Bee – October 2, 2017

More Road Closures Coming for High-Speed Rail ConstructionFresno Bee – July 25, 2017

Construction on High-Speed Rail Tracks to Close County RoadsMadera Tribune – July 31, 2017

California High-Speed Rail is forcing people to change their driving routines, and that brings danger:

Did a New Bridge Make This Old Intersection Dangerous?Fresno Bee – August 10, 2017

Of course, even taking the bus won’t overcome traffic delays:

Get Ready for Traffic Backups – Rail Work Will Close Lanes Near Roeding ParkFresno Bee – September 15, 2017

This bridge finally opened, but it opened eight months later than originally planned:

Downtown Fresno Bridge Finally Opens Allowing Two-Way TrafficFresno Bee – August 4, 2017

And the disruption is now moving south from Madera and Fresno counties into Kings County:

High-Speed Rail Construction to Start in Kings CountyHanford Sentinel – September 23, 2017

The people of Kings County will soon endure what the people of Madera County are enduring:

Readers Riled Up Over High-Speed RailMadera Tribune -September 18, 2017

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California High-Speed Rail Summer Highlights, Part 2: Failed Promises

Contrary to the claims of the taxpayer-funded California High-Speed Rail Authority Communications Department, the summer of 2017 was grim for the future of California High-Speed Rail.

Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) continually tracks developments (or lack of developments) for this costly, misguided high-speed rail plan. We see several trends ongoing with this project. The second is Failed Promises.

In November 2008, when California voters were considering Proposition 1A to borrow $9.95 billion for California High-Speed Rail, fiscal conservatives warned about the official projections:

California General Election Official Voter Information Guide – Proposition 1A – November 4, 2008

Now, almost nine years later, the truth is being revealed. The project is much more expensive than was claimed:

California Bullet Train Costs Up $1.7 Billion for Central Valley SegmentLos Angeles Times – September 28, 2017

Even board members of the California High-Speed Rail Authority were compelled to ask about cost overruns:

California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Meeting Transcript of Proceedings – September 19, 2017 (also California High-Speed Rail Authority Board Meeting Video – September 19, 2017)

“That my concern and my discomfort level is that while this is short-term cash flow kinds of decisions that need to be made, in the big picture for the public, for our stakeholders where we don’t frankly have a great deal of good will or confidence in us, this sort of shell game of moving money around where we know we’re going to eventually — especially items three and four — we’re eventually going to have to come up with the money that we’re moving around.”

Rail Board Members Question Bullet Train Budget Overruns  – Associated Press – September 20, 2017

And it’s way behind schedule:

High Speed Rail in Valley Was Once Supposed to Be Done by Saturday. Not Even CloseFresno Bee – September 24, 2017

Not that any observers of California High-Speed Rail are surprised their predictions came true:

Why Missed Deadline for California Bullet Train Is No SurpriseSan Diego Union-Tribune – September 30, 2017

Of course, what California High-Speed Rail is today is not what was promised to voters in 2008:

High-Speed Rail Gets Us Stuck in Traffic – California Policy Center – July 24, 2017

Former leading backers of the project are now highly critical, especially former California State Senator Quentin Kopp:

Bogus Bullet TrainSacramento Bee – September 14, 2017

The Politician Behind California High Speed Rail Now Says It’s ‘Almost a Crime’ – Reason Foundation – September 20, 2017

But what can ordinary Californians do? One area where citizens have exposed the California High-Speed Rail Authority concerns its schemes to circumvent environmental review:

California’s Bullet Train Is Likely to Face More Environmental Hurdles After a High Court RulingLos Angeles Times – July 31, 2017

High-Speed Rail Backers Lose Another Round in Court – Los Angeles Times – August 2, 2017

Governor Jerry Brown and the majority party in control of the state legislature are committed to support this project to the end. Citizens have turned to the courts to bring California High-Speed Rail Accountability to the public:

Lawsuit Demands California High-Speed Rail Comply With Voter Intentions – California Policy Center – June 1, 2017

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California High-Speed Rail Summer Highlights, Part 1: Lack of Leadership

Contrary to the claims of the taxpayer-funded California High-Speed Rail Authority Communications Department, the summer of 2017 was grim for the future of California High-Speed Rail. Citizens for California High-Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) continually tracks developments (or lack of developments) for this costly, misguided high-speed rail plan. We see several trends ongoing with this project. The first is Lack of Leadership.

On April 21, 2017 the California High-Speed Rail Authority announced that on June 2 its CEO Jeff Morales would leave the position:

Big Change in High-Speed Rail: CEO Steps Down, Says New Leader Needed – Fresno Bee – April 21, 2017

There were high expectations for change:

Leadership Turnover at the California High-Speed Rail Authority Could Signal Shakeup – Los Angeles Times – May 1, 2017

But perhaps it can be said that great leaders never fade away. Two months after his alleged departure date, Jeff Morales was still on the Authority payroll:

California Bullet Train Chief Executive Is Still on the State Payroll – Two Months After His Exit Date – Los Angeles Times – August 4, 2017

As of October 10, 2017, no one has taken his place as CEO. It wasn’t that there weren’t qualified candidates. CCHSRA ally Kevin Dayton applied for the CEO position:

Applying for New CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority: My Cover Letter  – California Policy Center – May 2, 2017

In fact, ten days before the CEO announced his departure, Dayton had critiqued the leadership performance of the $383,000 per year CEO and found it wanting: 

Is the California High-Speed Rail Authority Paying for Legendary Leadership? – California Policy Center – April 21, 2017

Meanwhile, other top executives at the California High-Speed Rail Authority have announced their departure:

Another Key California Bullet Train Executive Is Leaving – Los Angeles Times – October 5, 2017

Granted, the California High-Speed Rail Authority has long been notorious for staff vacancies and turnover. For a few years, the Authority was producing a “California High-Speed Rail Authority Position Summary and Vacancy Report Executive Summary Report” such as this:

California High-Speed Rail Authority Position Summary and Vacancy Report Executive Summary Report January 2016

But it now appears that employees of California High-Speed Rail are taking the advice that former California Republican Party chairman Shawn Steel recently gave to the people promoting the project:

California’s High-Speed Rail Promoters Should Heed the Wisdom of Rats – Sacramento Bee – August 29, 2017

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More Oversight Needed for Promise of California High-Speed Rail Job Opportunities

A majority of Californians now realize that the state’s promises to voters in Proposition 1A (2008) about California High-Speed Rail aren’t going to be fulfilled. This has forced the California High-Speed Rail Authority and its defenders to emphasize the project as a massive stimulus package to create jobs for disadvantaged workers in the San Joaquin Valley.

But how accurate is the rhetoric? The California Policy Center has begun an investigative project to determine how many jobs are being “created” and how many of those jobs have gone to disadvantaged workers who are San Joaquin Valley residents. This is the type of oversight that the California legislative majority does not do, for reasons that seem to be obvious.

Newly-obtained records from the State Center Community College District reveal the details of a union-only pre-apprenticeship program for construction trade workers funded by a $440,717 state grant. The records suggest that actual job creation isn’t matching the rhetoric. Unions either don’t have jobs to provide to local disadvantaged workers or choose not to provide jobs to local disadvantaged workers. See results as of June 2, 2017 below:California Apprenticeship Initiative - State Center Community College District

See the June 13, 2017 California Policy Center article at California High-Speed Rail Jobs: High Hopes, Harsh Reality.

Also, here are links to source documents about the $440,717 state-funded union-only pre-apprenticeship program at State Center Community College District:

California Apprenticeship Initiative at State Center Community College District – Grant Agreement

California Apprenticeship Initiative at State Center Community College District – Year to Date Expenditures and Progress Reports

California Apprenticeship Initiative at State Center Community College District – Performance Results

 

Confidential Report Says First Construction Segment of California High-Speed Rail May Cost 50% More Than Expected

California's bullet train is hurtling toward a multibillion-dollar overrunSomehow, Los Angeles Times reporter Ralph Vartabedian was able to get a document “for internal use only” that top Federal Railroad Administration officials reportedly gave to top California High-Speed Rail officials at a December 1, 2016 meeting in Washington, D.C. He reported on this “confidential” document today (January 13, 2017): California’s Bullet Train Is Hurtling Toward a Multibillion-Dollar Overrun, a Confidential Federal Report Warns.

This report claims that the Initial Construction Segment of California High-Speed Rail (apparently identified as Merced to Shafter rather than Madera to Shafter) would cost $9.5 billion to $10 billion instead of the assumed $6.4 billion. It also will not be completed until 2024 instead of the planned 2018.

Finally, the report concludes that the California High-Speed Rail Authority may not be able to achieve the conditions required to qualify for federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus grants awarded in 2009 and 2010. This means California taxpayers would be alone in paying for it.

Presumably this report only refers to the laying of track in the San Joaquin Valley and does not include electrification. At this time the California High-Speed Rail Authority had not even begun the bidding process toward Construction Package 5 – laying track on the Initial Construction Segment. Contractors for “Construction Package 1” are now working on demolition and civil engineering, including a viaduct near Madera.

Aaron Fukuda, co-chairman of Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA) was a guest on the Ray Appleton Show (with substitute hosts Blake Taylor and Michael Reed) on KMJ News/Talk 580AM/105.9 FM in Fresno on January 13 to talk about the boondoggle. Also calling in to decry the insufficiency of state oversight on the project was California State Senator Andy Vidak. And a statement from California Congressman Jeff Denham criticizing the project was referenced during the show.

This cost overrun and delay is not surprising to Citizens for California High Speed Rail Accountability (CCHSRA). Nor is it surprising that the California High-Speed Rail Authority is downplaying the report. That state agency continues its quest to take land from San Joaquin Valley farmers, homeowners, commercial and industrial businesses, places of worship, non-profit groups, and even homeless shelters. It wants to lock up the land for a time when state tax increases provide enough funding to pay for completion of the San Joaquin Valley track.

What Californians may end up getting for their $10 billion is a winding dedicated track for Amtrak diesel engines to cart passengers between Madera to Shafter. Is this what 53% of California voters envisioned when they voted for Proposition 1A in November 2008?

KMJ Podcast: 2:04:36 Blake Taylor & Michael Reed fill in for Ray Appleton – January 13, 2017

Congressman Jeff Denham: Denham Statement on Latest Report of California High-Speed Rail Overruns – January 13, 2017

State Senator Andy Vidak: Now Governor, Will You Finally Support an Audit of High-Speed Rail? – January 13, 2017

Congressman Kevin McCarthy: Statement on reports that California’s high-speed rail would cost taxpayers 50% more than estimated, or an extra $3.6 billion – January 13, 2017

The Hunt for Dollars to Build the $64-Billion Bullet TrainLos Angeles Times – December 24, 2016

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