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Burning the Midnight Oil for Living Energy Independence

One element of the recent California HSR "revised" draft 2012 Business Plan (which we shall call the Other, Other Plan) involves looking to one particular means of finance in addition to general fund bond finance and Federal transport grant funding:

Cap-and-Trade Program Funds
Assembly Bill 32 (Statutes, 2006, Chapter 488) mandates a reduction of statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. In accordance with that law, California will implement a market-based cap-and-trade program. Funds from the program can be used to further the purposes of AB 32, including for development and construction of the high-speed rail system.
This has led to the current controversy in which the California Legislative Analysts Office, the LAO, has argued that the Cap and Trade funds might not be usable for HSR (pdf: p. 8).

One of their points, "Other GHG Reduction Strategies Likely to Be More Cost Effective," involves a serious and common misframing of the question of the use of funds dedicated to reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions: when reducing GHG emissions in a project that serves multiple purposes, the cost effectiveness of the GHG emissions spending depends on what share of the project funding is represented by that GHG emissions spending.

So more on transport, Green House Gas emissions, and the peculiar analytical weaknesses that crop up whenever the California LAO turns its attention to HSR, over the fold.

Funding Shares Matter

Lets consider three projects. A reduces CO2 at a cost of $20/ton. B reduces CO2 at a cost of $50/ton. And C reduces CO2 at a cost of $250/ton. Which one is the more cost efficient way to reduce CO2 emissions ?

Of course, you have no way of knowing, since you are missing a key piece of information: what share of funding is coming from the funds dedicated to reducing CO2 emissions:

  • If A is 100% funding, B is 80% funding, and C is 10% funding, then the order is A=$20, C=$25, B=$40;
  • If A is 100% funding, B is 20% funding, and C is 25% funding, then the order is C=$10, A=$20, B=$63

So, for projects that are only funded to reduce CO2 emissions, the evaluation is simple. But for projects that are "win-win-win" type projects, advanced and supported as helping with multiple goals, the question is:

  • what share of funding ought to come in support of its CO2 emissions reduction

Possible answers include:

  • As high a share as required may be spent on the project much as the project needs
  • Up to a share that allows the spending to be "reasonably cost effective", and
  • no share at all, the CO2 emissions reduction should be taken as a windfall gain.

This is a point ignored by Brad Plumer at the Wonkblog, when he raised the cost effectiveness point:

... Second — and more broadly — high-speed rail may not be the most efficient use of money that’s supposed to be used to combat global warming.

Some rough numbers help show this: The California High Speed Rail Authority claims that by 2030, if the train ran entirely on renewable energy, then it would start reducing the state’s carbon emissions by about 5.4 million metric tons per year. That would mean the rail network would cut California’s emissions at a cost of, at the very low end, $250 per ton of carbon dioxide over the ensuing 50 years, given the system’s current price tag. (This is being extremely generous, since it ignores the energy used to build the system — by some estimates, high-speed rail would actually increase emissions in its first few decades.)

And that’s a pricey way to cut carbon. To put this in perspective, research has suggested that you could plant 100 million acres of trees and help reforest the United States for a cost of somewhere between $21 to $91 per ton of carbon dioxide. Alternatively, a study by Dan Kammen of UC Berkeley found that it would cost somewhere between $59 and $87 per ton of carbon dioxide to phase out coal power in the Western United States and replace it with solar, wind and geothermal. If reducing greenhouse gases is your primary goal, then there are a slew of more cost-effective ways to do it than building a bullet train.

Now, in these price ranges, there are two things going into the range. First, there is a range uncertainty over the cost. But second, there is also an actual range of underlying costs: that is, if you start with the easiest, least expensive reforestation projects first, you are more likely to be down toward the $21/ton range, and if you keep it up, you are likely to climb toward the $91/ton range.

The second thing to bear in mind is that we really shouldn't have a price target, here: we have a quantity target. In the end, we are going to have to shut down coal electricity production sometime over the next twenty years, and the sooner the better. So if the cheapest to eliminate is $60/ton, and the most expensive to eliminate is $90/ton, then $90/ton would be a fair cost for eliminating CO2.

With Dan Kammen's study of roughly $60/ton to $90/ton, I'll take the mid-point for a fair cost of reducing CO2 as $75/ton or less.

What does this mean for HSR? If the full budget cost of reducing CO2 with HSR is from $250/ton to $400/ton, and a fair cost of reducing CO2 is $75/ton or less, then the fair share for Cap & Trade Funding for the $68b HSR project is from $12b to $20b.

The Optimist's Critique, and the Pessimist's

The optimist's critique of this is that this overstates the cost of reducing CO2: we can get much more progress made much more cheaply than these people are projecting.

Great! If we can, we are in much better shape than is currently being expected, and the urgency of getting the best possible deal for our CO2 emissions dollar is much lower ... and so if the optimist is right and its just not as big a deal as this ~ then funding an economically useful transport project on the basis of an inflated estimate of a fair cost of CO2 emissions reduction is a way of taking that unexpected windfall gain in advance.

On the pessimist's side, what if the actual cost per ton turns out to be substantially higher than the estimate. The risk, there, is that setting the "fair contribution" level too low will result in useful projects not going ahead because they need just a little bit more funding.

The thing about the pessimist's view is that it implies something about our future economy: it implies that we are, as a national economy, poorer than we would otherwise be, as the deferred bill for using our atmosphere as a dump turns out to be far higher than we expect. And in such an economy, I'm happy to be a bit restrained in funding for intercity transport and leave something in the kitty to help fund local transport.

After all, if the California HSR system can gain funding to get the HSR Initial Operating Service up and running, that's a legacy that can be used even if the balance of the route is never completed. Electrifying and upgrading the San Joaquin and Surfliner routes, together with regulatory reform, would allow a single seat, sustainably powered HSR ride from San Diego to Oakland, with a connection to electric mass transit at Oakland for San Francisco.

Now, that's not 3hrs LA/SF, but the need for 3hrs LA/SF assumes something like the status quo system: a pessimist's scenario might also involve rationing airline flights based on our supply of sustainable biofuel substitutes for aviation kerosene, in which case unrationed trips that are 5hrs LA/SF would have substantially more appeal than they do today.

In the end, if we make our best guess what the marginal cost of CO2 emissions reduction will be, and guess low, then projects funded on the basis of that low guess were a bargain. And if we make our best guess, and guess high, then the future is rosier than our best current guess, and we can afford to overpay a bit.

For myself, I'm comfortable with $12b Cap and Trade funding for the $68b HSR Phase 1, HSR from the Basin to the Bay and through operation on shared Regional HSR corridors through to SF-TransBay Terminal and LA-Union Station and Anaheim.

What's Up with the LAO?

One pitfall that Brad Plumer likely ran into is a relatively uncritical reading of the LAO report. This is similar to the relatively uncritical reception that CBO or Social Security Trustees reports or health economist's mathematical modeling receives at Wonkblog.

But the LAO report is, for whatever reason, grossly biased against HSR. It pretends to do a risk analysis of the HSR project, and while cataloging all of the risks that it can that stand between the project and completion, it ignores the risks of not building the project: the risk of standing pat with the current status quo of California relying primarily on intercity car and air travel.

Indeed, the LAO presents a case against using Cap & Trade funds for HSR funding, under the cover of analysing whether its would be permitted, but only in terms of compliance with provisions of the Cap & Trade legislation. It does not consider whether the objective of the legislation can be met without offering a large portion of the state population the opportunity to choose a carbon neutral transportation system.

After all, our current transport system surrenders national sovereignty in service of ensuring long term misery for large numbers of Americans in the future. We are exposed to the risk that we cannot afford to pay for the petroleum imports to keep it running, the risk that we cannot physically obtain the petroleum imports to keep it going, and the risk that we discover that we cannot afford the side effects of burning the petroleum to keep it going.

Those are some pretty big risks to be pass by without comment, especially when in the very same analysis you consider legislation passed in order to address the problem underlying one of those risks. Its like driving at high speed along the top of a butte, and ignoring the fact that we might go over the north cliff, or might go over the east cliff, but one way or another we are going to run out of level land to drive on.

Now, in a carbon neutral transport system, just  as in our current, obsolete, transport system, most trips are local. And there are a wide variety of more sustainable local transport options, particularly when we set aside the fantasy of an efficient, effective, one-size-fits-all-trips solution. There is walking on well designed sidewalks, cycling, both on shared right of way and on cycleways, there are neighborhood electric vehicles, there are shared electric cars, there are city buses, there are buses on dedicated corridors, there are various types of modern trams and trolleys, there are electric trolley buses, there is electric local and regional heavy rail.

But when considering 200 mile trips, the choices narrow down. And when considering 300 mile to 500 mile trips, there are very strong advantages to electric Express HSR.

The challenge of electric Express HSR is that it is capital intensive, just as is new airport construction, and as is new express highway construction. In the case of California HSR, the capital costs sort out to:

  • Sticking with what is already there, under the current regime of running existing infrastructure down
  • Upgrading existing conventional rail corridors to be time-competitive to driving
  • Sticking with what is already there, maintaining it in a state of good repair
  • Express HSR
  • New infrastructure for car and air travel

So in the basic economic case for Express HSR, it is essential to know whether new intercity transport capacity will be needed. The expectation that the HSR project is built upon is that California will experience population growth. In that case, the choice, at least under anything like current political institutions, will be how additional intercity infrastructure is provided, not whether.

Which highlight the risk that not only will California be stuck with its current obsolete transport system, but that it will spend funds on expanding a system that is already obsolete, and then will be forced to look for substitutes on an emergency basis.

As to why the LAO neglects this massive status quo bias ~ I do not know. Speculations abound as to technical capacity or motivations of key players, but I am, as always, an outsider looking in, and I don't have the basis to even guess.

But it is a massive blind spot in their analysis, and it is important to be aware that, given their blind spot, their conclusions have to be taken with more than a few grains of salt.

Now, the floor is open for discussion

As always, any topic in sustainable transport is on-topic in the Sunday Train. So feel free to take about CO2 emissions reduction, energy independence, suburban retrofit and reversing the cancer of sprawl over our diverse ecosystems, or the latest iPhone or Android app to map you bike ride. Whatever.

The Sunday Train doesn't really leave the station until you jump in and join the conversation so ... All Aboard!

Midnight Oil ~ The Dead Heart

Down at the river bed
The earth is cracked and dry instead
Farms are failing, cities baking
Steam in 45 degrees

Originally posted to Sunday Train on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Hawks, Systems Thinking, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Jobs per dollar! (16+ / 0-)
    Overall we find that bicycling infrastructure creates the most jobs for a given level of spending: For each $1 million, the cycling projects in this study create a total of 11.4 jobs within the state where the project is located. Pedestrian-only projects create an average of about 10 jobs per $1 million and multi-use trails create nearly as many, at 9.6 jobs per $1 million. Infrastructure that combines road construction with pedestrian and bicycle facilities creates slightly fewer jobs for the same amount of spending, and road-only projects create the least, with a total of 7.8 jobs per $1 million.

    I think this is an example of what you're talking about. The goal of a given project may not only be CO2 reduction; it may be economic stimulus, and obesity reduction. Thus it should get funds from whatever sources are funding other job-stimulus and anti-obesity projects, and from cap-and-trade revenues as well.

    "The true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals." - Barack Obama

    by HeyMikey on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:20:04 PM PDT

    •  Quite ... cycleways ... (9+ / 0-)

      ... and secure cycle lockers at train stations (picture above) and cycle parking and investment in sensors that detect that bikes are at automatic traffic lights and turn the light green ... are all a mix of transport, transport safety and health improvements ...
      ... but a certain share of cycle passenger trips that are completed would otherwise have been taken by car is a CO2 savings, and so on a fair estimate of the benefit ought to quality for an appropriate share.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:07:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Public transit helps with 5 goals. (10+ / 0-)

      There are 5 goals that all but the most anarcho-Capitalistic politicians will say they want, where public transit can play a role in reaching the goals:

      1) Energy independence.

      2) Congestion relief,

      3) Pollution reduction,

      4) Revitalizing central business districts, and

      5) Improving mobility for the poor, elderly, and disabled.

      (I am not counting stimulus because it's not needed all the time--in times of full employment, stimulus for the sake of stimulus is inflationary.)

      The "energy policy" we have now amounts to pushing as many people as possible into private cars, stopping just short of being obvious.

      Greg McKendry, Linda Kraeger, Dr. George Tiller, Steven Johns. Victims of Wingnut violence

      by Judge Moonbox on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:48:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Active Transport overlaps with that ... (6+ / 0-)

        (1) through (4) certainly ~ some Active Transport projects are better than others with the elderly and the disabled.

        And regarding stimulus, we may not need stimulus all the time, but neither do we need to be engaged in a constant, steady flow of investment in public transport and active transport infrastructure ~ investing in more of it when we need stimulus and less when we don't need as much stimulus still means that we have the infrastructure to use.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:55:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  If we ever achieve full employment (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BruceMcF, Judge Moonbox
        (I am not counting stimulus because it's not needed all the time--in times of full employment, stimulus for the sake of stimulus is inflationary.)
        then that will be something to worry about.

        Inflation, btw, is not some great evil unless it is excessive or wages are artifically depressed.

        Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

        by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:36:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Build it and they will come (6+ / 0-)

  •  I had the same reaction to Plumer's piece (11+ / 0-)

    My reaction went like, "Why is he taking the entire cost of the project and applying it to its carbon benefit? ... Like WTF?"

    Had anybody suggested that the full cost of the project be funded by cap & trade funds? To my knowledge, the revised business plan certainly didn't.

    I like the approach you took. You back into the amount of cap & trade funding by using a fair price of carbon reduction.

    It's not just the LAO who have the "massive status quo bias." Most other critics of the project seem to ignore the emerging realities that are going to force us to make different choices than we've been making.

    "In text, use only a single word space after all sentence punctuation." - Oxford Style Manual, Oxford University Press, 2003.

    by shaggies2009 on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:43:08 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for the diary. (5+ / 0-)

    "Such is the irresistible nature of truth that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing." - Thomas Paine

    by blueoregon on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 05:47:51 PM PDT

  •  Interesting and well done, thanks. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, shaggies2009, Aunt Pat

    We were out in Big Bend National Park last week and read that there are continuing concerns with air pollution in the park from Houston, El Paso, and Monterey Mexico.  

    Got me to thinking once again about taking the train from Austin to Alpine and renting a car there....

    Saw this up in the chisos, convertible with trailer with camping equipment inside?

     Doubt it but still... wonder what its footprint is..... pffffft


     Have to click on the pic to see the whole rig since I have little luck with resize.  

    •  It could be ... (4+ / 0-)

      ... that looks like some motorbike camping trailers I've seen.

      Two things that that actually reminds me of about freedom from cars are:

      (1) the target is to make it an option to ditch the car if one wishes. And, after all, if five car families can become one car families, that's four fewer cars, but even more ...

      (2) if you don't need a car to commute, don't need a car for weekly shopping, and don't need a car for most of your leisure activities, that frees up a lot of opportunity to rent a car once in a while that one might not be able to afford to actually own.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:20:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Bruce, this discussion is....... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BruceMcF, ozsea1, Aunt Pat

       ....way above my paygrade, but I always like to read your Sunday Trains diaries. Highball!

    Best, Hoghead99

    Compost for a greener piles?

    by Hoghead99 on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:13:40 PM PDT

  •  the LAO needs to be investigated itself (7+ / 0-)

    for being excessively partisan and biased, instead of being a neutral, data-driven analyst for the legislature.

    and yeah, HSR is a great way to use that cap and trade $.

    •  I've been seeing some wacky analyses out of there (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruceMcF, Aunt Pat, bronte17

      lately in education as well. What's up with that?

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:41:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I do not know whether ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, bronte17

      ... the LAO is being (1) incompetent in its analysis, (2) biased in performing the analysis or (3) biased in selecting people with the "right" blind spots for the desired outcome.

      Its not likely to be partisan in the conventional sense ~ if the fix is in, suspicion lies on a few Democratic Senators in addition to the obstructionist Republican minority, so it would be a bipartisan fix.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:22:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I asked Fran Pavley about this (5+ / 0-)

    She is the author of AB32, and I was a fundraiser for her this evening. Although she supports both AB32 and CAHSR (check my tweets for her public remarks), she felt that using AB32 revenues for HSR was very, very dubious.

    The world is on pace for 11 degrees F warming. Nothing else in politics matters. @RL_Miller

    by RLMiller on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:38:48 PM PDT

    •  I wonder whether this is the effect ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat, JesseCW, bronte17

      ... if the shallow LAO analysis? The LAO saying that it is dubious would be enough for many people, though its a very flimsy analysis ~ it rests on the unstated assumptions that:

      (1) the initial construction segments will not provide benefit until Phase1 is complete, even though in the plan there have been 3 levels of preliminary use prior to that point ~ the San Joaquin using the ICS, the initial HSR service, and the Bay to Basin HSR service.

      (2) There will be no new construction of status quo infrastructure proceeding if the HSR project does not.

      (3) And, as focused on in this piece, that 100% of the cost of the project is allocated to Cap & Trade funding, when it would be using some share less than 100%.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 04:18:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Dedicated funding is a bad idea, esp in California (0+ / 0-)

    We have a legislature and a governor to make annual decisions on where funds should be spent.  What is important to fund  in 2022 can change in ways that are not knowable today.

    IF HSR turns out to be a failure 15 years from now because 95% of car are affordable electrics and a large share of business travel is lost to teleconferencing on the Internet, does it really make sense to continue the same funding level?

    Dedicated funding makes sense in special cases such as revenue bond where user chargers provide funding for the bonds in cases such as roads, bridges, electric power, etc..

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:37:41 AM PDT

    •  Did you really just assert that dedicating (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      funding for roads makes sense but that dedicating funding for rail is not?

      Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

      by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:40:12 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Note that I said "user chargers" (0+ / 0-)

        The revenue from the tolls on a highway (or bridge) are dedicated to the bonds issued for that road.  The charges for electric power of a muni power company are dedicated to the bonds used to build the utility.

        It is entirely reasonable for HSR to get the fees charged passengers on a dedicated basis.

        The very direct connection of the infrastructure user paying a fee that goes to the financing of the infrasture being used, is what is essential.

        If the user fees cover more than what the infrastructure needs, the surplus should go to the state's general fund.

        Taking funds from Cap and Trade to fund HSR violates these good government principles.

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:53:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except it doesn't. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The funds from Cap & Trade are dedicated to the reduction of CO2 emissions. Allocating funding from the Cap & Trade fund to HSR up to an appropriate cost per ton of reduced CO2 emissions is entirely appropriate.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:11:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Appropriate does not mean it must be dedicated (0+ / 0-)

            If other projects reduced more CO2 for a given funding level, those projects may be more suitable for funding than HSR.

            It would be reasonable that any Cap & Trade funds HSR receives go to HSR debt service.  The essence of Cap and Trade is that there is competition to receive the funds from CO2 credits.  Dedicating funding from Cap & Trade to HSR violates the principles of Cap & Trade.  HSR should compete for these funds on price.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:23:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Are you arguing the appropriate funding ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... rate from the Cap & Trade fund?

              If you have an argument for a different level of funding per ton reduced that you would argue in favor of, feel free to present it. However, an argument over cost effectiveness is not an argument over whether the Cap & Trade fund may be used, but rather an argument over what share of the budget it may shoulder.

              If on the other hand you are arguing that the Cap & Trade fund may never be used to help fund multi-year infrastructure investment because it must be "flexible", then you require a far more specific argument as to why multi-year infrastructure investment projects should be discriminated against in the allocation of Cap & Trade funding than what you've present here. You cannot use an argument that the governor and legislature should be free to allocate the use of a fund as a rationale for denying the governor and the legislature the freedom to allocate the use of a fund for some particular qualifying use.

              Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:40:02 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  HSR should sell C&T credits to help fund HSR (0+ / 0-)

                But the state should look at HSR as one of many sellers of C&T  credits and be treated equally with other private and public projects.  As a C&T marketplace, those willing to sell C&T credits for the lowest price set the market price.

                For HSR to sell credits as a "futures" derivative, years before HSR is in operation and able to provide the CO2 reductions is financially highly speculative and risky.  The risk of HSR completion delays is very high, as well as what the price of CO2 credits will be years from now.

                Once HSR is in operation selling C&T credits to the market is reasonable.

                The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                by nextstep on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:15:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So what you are denying to the governor ... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... and legislature is the right and responsibility to make policy decisions?

                  But the state should look at HSR as one of many sellers of C&T  credits and be treated equally with other private and public projects.
                  Why? Why should the elected representatives of the State of California deny themselves information regarding the complex systems required to provide the state with a sustainable transport system and hide behind the information-destroying excuse of "the market made me do it"?

                  Markets cannot design large complex systems: that requires a going concern of some sort.

                  Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

                  by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:18:46 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I did not say such transactions should be (0+ / 0-)

                    illegal, just selling C&T credits without actually having the operation up and running that reduce CO2 is recklessly riskly for the state to do.  That would be riskier that what people lost their shirts on in the financial markets.

                    What denial of information are you referring to?

                    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                    by nextstep on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 03:13:43 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You are falling into the same status ... (0+ / 0-)

                      ... quo bias that plagues the incompetent LAO report ~ ignoring the risk of not pursuing the project, which is even more recklessly risky in the eyes of anyone who takes reducing CO2 seriously and therefore takes seriously the requirements of establishing a sustainable integrated transport system.

                      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

                      by BruceMcF on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 04:05:35 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

            •  You need to study the US emissions profile (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              And understand that regardless of how many EV take to the road it will always be far less efficient than mass transit for the many.

              Well integrated mass transit with feeder routes and EV taxis are the future of economically efficient countries.

              What about my Daughter's future?

              by koNko on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:25:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  However, the fact is that you have not ... (0+ / 0-)

              ... presented any source to establish your premise that the capital and operating subsidies for funded highways are fully covered by true user fees.

              When Texas Department of Transport looked at gas tax cost recovery of funded highways, they did not find a single highway that came close to cost recovery, and that was without correcting for the portion of gas tax revenues that are diversions from the general fund rather than a true user fee.

              "All roads are entirely funded by user fees" is central to your thesis that HSR must be all funded by user fees. Until you have provided solid evidence that that is the case, why is there any reason to tackle any other part of your argument? The strength or weakness of your argument is a moot point if it rests on a false premise.

              Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

              by BruceMcF on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 08:39:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Unless those affordable electrics ... (0+ / 0-)

      ... are imagined to be going at 150mph trip speeds, there's nothing in that part of the scenario that is outside the range of the parameters of the ridership modeling. Bear in mind that HSR was a success in the 1980's in France at lower effective gasoline cost than in California today, and over a corridor with lower total transport demand than LA/SF and less intermediate transport demand than CV/LA and CV/SF.

      That is, indeed, one of the reasons why investment in HSR is strategic ~ while it is an essential part of a sustainable integrated transport system, it does not depend upon the existence of an integrated transport system for its success.

      And the discussion here is regarding revenues that are already dedicated to reduction of CO2 emissions. Under this proposal, investment into infrastructure in support of the transition to electric cars would obviously quality for having some share of its budget funded in precisely the same way.

      Regarding dedicated user charges paid by cars, if user charges paid by cars were raised to levels sufficient to cover road maintenance as well as the other external costs imposed on the public by car users, and with none of those being masked diversion of sales tax revenues via exempting gas from sales tax ...
      ... then the substantial increase in the cost of gas would be a substantial boost to HSR ridership in its own right. Gas prices that both reflect international oil price shocks and push the cost of the car transport system onto the drivers are higher than those assumed in the "high ridership" scenario in the ridership modeling.

      Regarding telecommuting, widespread telecommuting will have a substantial impact on peak hour commuting, but HSR is not a transit project, its an intercity transport project. There's no reason to expect an equivalent impact on total intercity transport demand.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 08:54:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The future cannot be predicted with precision (0+ / 0-)

        due to this uncertainty, it is best for for all state funds to be generally available for whatever purposes the legislature and governor decide.

        The sole exception is for user fees (tuition paid by state college student goes to the college, road/bridge toll goes to servicing the bonds issued to fund the road/bridge, fares paid by HSR passengers go to HSR operations and bonds).

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:11:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Except that the position you seem to be ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          ... arguing is the opposite of allowing the legislature and the governor to decide how to allocate a particular fund dedicated to a particular purpose among different qualifying uses.

          I am not following the transition from the sweeping principles that you declare, which are entirely compatible with the use of the Cap & Trade funds up to the level I suggest, to refusing the governor and the legislature the freedom to allocate funds from the Cap & Trade fund toward particular qualifying projects.

          Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

          by BruceMcF on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:24:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Notice the fabrication in this ... (0+ / 0-)
      Dedicated funding makes sense in special cases such as revenue bond where user chargers provide funding for the bonds in cases such as roads, bridges, electric power, etc..
      Road users do not pay a user cost that covers the cost of their use of the road. Further, much of the user cost that they do pay is a diversion from the general fund in the form of exempting gasoline from sales tax and then levying a tax dedicated to partial funding of the road that the user is driving on ~ except, of course, for unfunded streets that they pay the "user fee" for someone else's use and residential sales/income/property tax must be tapped to pay for the use of the road that they are driving on.

      "bridges and electricity" is a red herring here ~ indeed, if passenger rail was competing against unsubsidized air and road transport run on a pure user fees basis for both capital and operating cost, there would already be substantially faster conventional passenger rail services available, and the incremental cost of arriving at the first HSR Operating Service would be substantially lower.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 08:32:47 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank You - N/T (0+ / 0-)

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 12:43:19 AM PDT

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