Monday, April 2, 2012

Draft Revised Business Plan is out: The Sanity Strikes Back

The Draft Revised Business Plan for CAHSR is now available at their website. There is also a summary of changes. Some stream of consciousness commentary as I read through it:

They have indeed dropped the Initial Construction System as an entity and moved straight to building an Initial Operating System, which is IOS-South down to the San Fernando Valley. Interestingly, they plan on moving the San Joaquins over as soon as what used to be the ICS is finished and tie it in with Altamont Commuter Express.

The new price tag is $68.4 billion and is "for delivering the San Francisco-to-Los Angeles/Anaheim system, in accordance with Proposition 1A performance standards."

Lot of talk of building up ridership base with the blended plan and bookend improvements. Referring to it as a blended system which is far better, in my opinion, than their previous "We're separate from everyone and everything" approach.

The ICS is now "IOS-First Construction" thanks to switching the San Joaquins, although this apparently isn't distinct from the actual IOS?

San Joaquins, Capitol Corridor, and ACE are referred to as "Northern California Unified Service." I'm not sure if this is supposed to be just an ease of use term or whether they plan on actually unifying the responsible agencies.

New completion date: 2028, five years earlier. Up to 9 trains per hour, average ticket price of $81 between LA and SF in 2010 dollars. Cost in 2011 dollars is 53.4 billion.

San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission, Caltrans Division of Rail, Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority, and Sacramento Regional Transit have developed the NorCal Unified Service, working on a MOU for improvements to non-HSR system for increased speeds and frequencies to San Jose, Oakland, and Sacramento by the 2018 opening when they'll use the former ICS until the IOS begins.

Currently, the IOS is defined as extending from Merced to the San Fernando Valley, and high-speed revenue service would only start once the full IOS is built and operable. Should ridership and revenue forecasts and financial projections demonstrate that revenue service compliant with Proposition 1A could begin earlier, with a shorter IOS, appropriate reviews would occur to consider and implement earlier service, if appropriate.
There's actual discussion of Phase 2 in this business plan. No costs or anything however.

 Most of the cost reduction seems to be by getting rid of the full build out and being satisfied with a blended system. A slight reduction in inflation estimates, not enough to vastly change anything.

Constant dollar cost of IOS is $26.865-31.339 billion in constant 2011 dollars. Breakdown of costs on page 3-8.

A mildly odd tidbit
An important step forward in demonstrating the viability of the model and the reliability of its outputs was to use it to test actual circumstances in the Northeast Corridor. To do that, the Authority developed a California HSR scenario that has service levels comparable to those offered by Acela service between Washington D.C. and Boston. The model forecasts 2.7 million annual interregional riders on California HSR with Acela-like service in 2008, which is 79 percent of the ridership on the Acela in 2008. A comparison of mega-region population shows that the California HSR corridor had 76 percent Northeast Corridor population in 2000. The outcome therefore could be explained by the difference in population between the corridors.

They need to hype the predicted advanced fare prices like crazy instead of letting the media focus on the average fares ($52 vs $81 LA-SF as example).

So the new look of CAHSR: Dedicated HSR from Los Angeles to San Jose, blended between Anaheim and LA and San Jose to San Francisco.

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