Categories: Transportation, Local Trans., Regional, TransNet, Fees
In a 3-1 (Barth) vote last year, the Encinitas City Council rehired Austin-Foust to do the city's general plan update traffic study. Austin-Foust was the consulting company that shepherded the city's last traffic study, which was never considered acceptable by the city council or traffic commission.
Last night, the traffic consultant spoke regarding making policy decisions to allow for the reduction in our traffic infrastructure level of service and adding roundabouts to Rancho Santa Fe road in Olivenhain. Otherwise, their lecture was pretty shallow on details.
See Also: TLB Council Meeting Report.
The Planning and Conservation League writes:
STILL NO THERE THERE: REVISED BUSINESS PLAN FOR HIGH SPEED RAIL SLAMMED BY LEGISLATIVE ANALYST'S OFFICE
On Monday afternoon, the Assembly Transportation Committee held an informational hearing to review the California High Speed Rail Authority's recently revised Business Plan for a multi-billion dollar train network stretching from San Diego to San Francisco. The hearing was packed with elected officials and residents who are increasingly worried about the Authority's ability to manage this complex project.
What they heard didn't calm anyone's nerves.
The Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO) presented a scathing review of the business plan that questioned the legality of the Authority's approach. Their analysis highlighted the Authority's inadequate and incomplete discussion of risk associated with ridership and funding and its uninformative implementation timeline. Here are a few excerpts from the LAO's analysis:
The plan contains no discussion of the authority's plans or processes to (1) identify potential threats or (2) manage, respond, and mitigate those threats. The plan only states that the authority "believes it is aware of all existing threats and is taking the appropriate steps to prevent or mitigate those threats." (p. 4)
Ridership Risk. The plan addresses the risk of incorrectly forecasted ridership with one sentence, stating the risk "would be mitigated by policies that continue to draw people to reside in California and encourage high-speed rail as an alternative mode of transportation." (p. 6)
Funding Risks. To avoid the risk of failing to win credit approval from investors, the Authority's strategy is "to clearly communicate the project and obtain up-to-date feedback." (p. 6)
Overall Market Risk. To mitigate the risk that financial markets shut down and stop lending, the Authority "has to continually monitor the market and develop strong back-up strategies such as project segmentation." (p. 6)
Government Funding Risk. The Authority plans to avoid the risk that governments are not able to follow through on their commitments "by carefully assessing how each government funding source affects the build-out of each segment." (p. 6)
The LAO's critique of the Authority's risk analysis is particularly telling because it demonstrates that the Authority is still focused on promoting the project instead of creating the solid foundation to get it built. We're hopeful that increased legislative oversight can help guide the Authority toward a real path for moving forward.
Locally, we've seen resistance and difficulties in finding funding for beneficial transit projects like the Del Mar Fairgrounds seasonal rail stop. Billions of tax dollars are instead being directed to high speed rail (HSR). Many voted for the multi-billion dollar HSR project based on green thinking (not to be confused with the monetary kind of green). It turns out that high speed rail might be a green-washed idea, highly supported by rail road construction companies and land speculators along the rail line.
Wheels Coming Off High Speed Rail
When California voters barely approved a $9.95 billion bond measure for High Speed Rail in 2008, they had no idea how soon they would learn the true meaning of the phrase “being railroaded.” As more about this project is revealed, the backlash from the public and political leadership is sure to grow.
For purposes of full disclosure, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ran the unsuccessful campaign against Prop 1A (not to be confused with 2009’s Prop 1A, an attempt to raise $16 billion in new taxes). Our most potent weapon was a devastating study by the Reason Foundation which revealed that the proponents’ representations regarding costs, fare price and profitability were pure fantasy. But, from the start, we had an uphill battle convincing voters how poorly thought out this measure was. The California Legislature had already stacked the deck by providing such a biased title and summary for the measure that the issue of that deception is still the subject of litigation today. The deceptive ballot material, in addition to the campaign contributions from those who would profit from the project, was enough to ensure victory at the polls – albeit by a very small margin.
Over on SD Rostra Council Member Jerome Stocks has been tooting his horn over an award that had been given to the Sprinter. Stocks is Encinitas' representative at NCTD.
Today the NCTimes followed up on the award. The article indicates that the criteria for the award may not have been followed and there may be an element of fluff to the award. The Sprinter was years late and cost $130,000,000 more than projected.
From the article,
...it appears neither office's awards committee did any research on the Sprinter project outside of reviewing the information on its nomination form ---- originally sent in by a Sprinter project manager.
The Sprinter was also awarded the 2008 Grand Golden Fleece award by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association.
The article contains several quotes that are gems. Read them at the North County Times.
Please support active journalism. Learn about a few of the NCTime's advertisers and click on a few of their advertisements.
In a 3-1 vote last night, the Encinitas City Council rehired Austin-Foust to do the city's general plan update traffic study. Austin-Foust was the consulting company that shepherded the city's last traffic study, which was never considered acceptable by the city council or traffic commission.
See Also: TLB Council Meeting Report.
This was the comments made to the SANDAG board on May 15 by the Eckfields.
Helen’s SANDAG Presentation
My name is Helen Nielsen-Eckfield. My husband and I live in Carlsbad.
I want to thank you for letting us make a brief presentation to you about this project.
We have been working on the Train Stop at the Del Mar Fairground for the past 3 years.
I want to begin by thanking and congratulating Gary Gallegos who, after this committee added the study of the train stop to the scope of the SANDAG study last March 15, 2008… Gary committed to us that he would have a study of the environmental issues done…. And a budget done by May of 2009
And here we are on May 15 and we have the figures.
As many of you know my husband and I have had two wonderful organizations doing pro-bono work for us on this all this time…. and I am happy to say that the SANDAG budget figures and our pro-bono Engineer’s figures are the same.
We also attempted to work with Assemblyman Martin Garrick to provide an amendment to his bill which will add at least 14 more days of racing to the Del Mar season.
Our amendment would have required that the Thoroughbred Race concessionaire, who in 2007 earned just under 1 million dollars per day, just from betting…. to build the train stop before they received the additional days of racing.