Wednesday, August 14, 2013

California’s Bullet Train Or Elon Musk’s Hyperloop?

How about “L.A. to S.F. in 30 minutes?”, which was the front page of the Los Angeles Times this week. At the same time Elon Mush of Tesla is proposing a Hyperloop, the conceptual superfast, solar-powered, tubular transit system. This news came after another L.A. Times piece about the potential Cal High Speed Rail experiencing delays again. The much delayed, and over budget, fast train is already in the works and beyond conception mode like the Hyperloop. The State of California has budgeted $68 Billion and years of planning on the CalHighSpeedRail plan. The LA Times reports that Musk deliberately hopes his Hyperloop will disrupt current plans for the railroad. “I don’t think we should do the high-speed rail thing,” Musk told reporters. “It’s basically going to be California’s Amtrak,” he said. He didn’t mean that as a compliment.(LA Times). The California High Speed Rail Authority Chairman Dan said Musk greatly underestimates the costs of the Hyperloop, not to mention how hard it is to secure funding for mass transit and convince neighbors and environmentalists that such a system won’t be harmful. “While we have a lot of respect for his inventiveness, I think we could tell him a few things about the realities of building in California,” Richard said. Hyperloop is just on the drawing board and has potentially many hurdles. It is speculated to only cost $6 Billion just 10% of the cost of the HighSpeed Rail? That too maybe farfetched as the Railroad plan started at $100 Billion for the entire project, and now it’s $68 Billion for a portion of the overall plan. Californians approved about $10 billion in bonds for the project back in 2008. The LA Times also reports the costs have multiplied since then, and the state hasn’t secured all of the additional funds needed. The train is also behind schedule because of delays in engineering the project and acquiring land along the route, and because of all the environmental and legal challenges. Although, the clock’s ticking on federal stimulus grants, which are set to expire in 2017. The Hyperloop certainly sounds better, it projected to be cheaper, solar powered and take less time to go from San Francisco to LA (30 minutes). You could easily link up with a rental car, taxi, Metro or Muni at either destination city. It also looks like you only need 4 to 6 people in order to fill a transport capsule, while the train would be 6 to 10 rail cars. There are engineering issues with the Hyperloop in that it would generation lots of heat, so a proposal to surround the tube with water but that could mean lots of water. Maybe a combination of the two plans could fit, but we don’t see the Hyperloop operating through the Central Valley or Antelope Valley. It could kill the train in Palmdale, Ca. The other option is the Hyperloop is not for California as they have made their bet with the train. It may fit better between Dallas and Houston, or New York and D. C., or even New York to L. A. so the liberals can zoom past those Red States as fast as possible to get to another liberal haven.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hwy Corridor Progressing with Alternatives

News from the Victor Valley Daily Press indicates progress for the Hwy Corridor. There was a recent meeting in late July with The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Authority and Caltrans regarding the proposed route connecting the Victor and Antelope Valleys. They are proposing an eight-lane High Desert Corridor that will stretch over 60 miles between the two cities of Palmdale and Victorville. They have almost completed their environmental studies. They are still a good bit away from reality though. They project to begin construction by 2016, but they will need new funds to consummate that plan. One of the options is to have a public and private sector funding of the project. A number of alternatives have come into play. The original plan was to build a freeway between Hwy 15 in Victorville to Hwy 14 in Antelope Valley. Now they are conceiving to add a high speed rail and a toll road or both. Or do nothing at all. The main reason the Hwy Corridor was planned was based on future population growth, and commerce between the two major cities in the High Desert. Currently the access is via Hwy 138 which runs East of Palmdale along the southern parts of the valley to Phelan, Pinon Hills and then to Victorville. We cannot locate full detailed public maps of the exact route the Hwy Corridor would precede. It is roughly projected to run East to West from Hwy 15 through Adelanto south of El Mirage by Krey Field Airport to Palmdale Blvd. (Q8) in Eastern Antelope Valley and proceed south of Lake Los Angeles via Palmdale Blvd and then up to Ave P-8 and connect to Hwy 14. Most (over 95%) of this route is vacant unused land. 10th East to 90th East in Palmdale is undeveloped land and P-8 in not a paved road. Palmdale Blvd is paved from Hwy 14 Eastward to 240th street East, but is certainly not wide enough for a hwy. There are proposed alternative bypass routes along the path. There looks to be speculative investment opportunities along the route and if the project is approved then profits can be made. We will keep you posted here with the progress as an eight lane hwy along Antelope Valley’s east side will make significant changes in those areas.