Bullet train bad news: Funding fails

Posted by Debbie L. Sklar,: MyNewsLA – excerpt

By California High-Speed Rail Authority [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsThere’s bad news for Gov. Jerry Brown and other backers of the proposed California bullet train – a major money source expected to provide about $150 million only brought in $2.5 million.

The latest auction in California’s cap-and-trade market for greenhouse gases fell sharply below expectations, with buyers purchasing just 2 percent of the carbon credits whose sale funds some state programs — including the proposed high-speed bullet train intended to run from Anaheim to San Francisco.

The quarterly auction conducted May 18 will provide just $10 million for state programs, including $2.5 million for the bullet train, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday. The rail authority had been expecting about $150 million.

The reason is unclear, but state officials and outside experts pointed to several possible causes: less need for the credits, pending litigation that may overturn the entire system, and volatility spawned by speculators in a secondary trading market, according to the newspaper…

If the auction results reflect a long-term shift in greenhouse gas revenue, it would raise new concerns about the viability of building the bullet train, The Times reported… (more)

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Lack of funds found to stall key Bay Area transportation projects

By Michael Cabanatuan : sfgate – excerpt

Political gridlock in Sacramento and Washington threatens to stall planned improvements to the Bay Area’s crowded and congested transportation system, according to a study released Wednesday by a national transportation research group.

Just three of the Bay Area’s 20 most-critical transportation projects are fully funded, 11 have only partial funding and six aren’t likely to get enough money to even break ground until at least 2020, the report said.

“When you look at the most critically needed projects, the ones that are going to keep the system moving and keep people safe, most of those don’t have the funds they need,” said Rocky Moretti, a spokesman for Trip, which conducted the study.

Terminal’s struggle

Trip, which advocates for congestion-relieving projects, released the report in downtown San Francisco across the street from the Transbay Transit Center construction site, a project struggling to find funding for its second phase: a Caltrain extension…

Top Bay Area transportation projects lack funding

Trip, a national transportation research group, ranked the 20 most-needed Bay Area transportation projects and rated the sufficiency of their funding. Green ratings signify fully funded projects, yellow partially funded and red largely unfunded.

(1) Maintenance and improvement of local roads, streets and highways. Yellow.

(2) Region-wide improvements to BART, Muni, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and AC Transit. Yellow.

(3) Seismic retrofitting of Golden Gate Bridge. Yellow.

(4) Construction of regional express lane network. Yellow.

(5) BART extension to downtown San Jose, Santa Clara. Yellow.

(6) Infrastructure improvements at Port of Oakland and Oakland Army Base. Yellow.

(7) Reconstruction and improvements to Interstate 680-Highway 4 interchange In Martinez. Red.

(8) BART Transbay Tube seismic retrofit. Green.

(9) Replacement and expansion of Transbay Transit Center. Green.

(10) Region-wide maintenance of state highways and bridges. Yellow.

(11) Interstate 80-Interstate 680-Highway 12 interchange improvements in Solano County. Red.

(12) BART Metro program to expand capacity, service on the central core of the system. Red.

(13) Region-wide freeway ramp metering and other technological traffic management. Yellow.

(14) Implementing VTA express lane network throughout Santa Clara Valley. Yellow.

(15) Construction of Caltrain rail extension to Transbay Transit Center. Red.

(16) Central Subway. Green.

(17) Highway 152 realignment and widening between highways 101 and 156 in Santa Clara County. Red.

(18) Marin-Sonoma Narrows widening. Yellow.

(19) Maintenance and operations of state toll bridge system. Yellow.

(20) San Francisco congestion pricing program. Red.

Source: Trip… (more)