Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Burning Bridges

I cross 'em as I come to 'em.

"Freeway opens with demolition of LA bridge ahead of schedule" Associated Press  February 08, 2016

LOS ANGELES — Demolition crews brought down a portion of a famed downtown Los Angeles bridge sooner than expected, allowing for the early reopening Sunday of a section of US 101 that was closed for much of the weekend.

Traffic began flowing again on the freeway shortly after 10 a.m. — about four hours ahead of schedule, said Mary Nemick of the city Public Works Department.

‘‘Everything just went extremely well,’’ she said about the weekend’s work. ‘‘Great weather, no unforeseen problems, no problems with equipment.’’

The 84-year-old bridge, which soars over the concrete-lined Los Angeles River, has appeared in many Hollywood movies, including ‘‘Grease’’ and ‘‘Terminator 2.’’ Think rival gang members Danny and Leo racing in ‘‘Grease’’ or big chases in ‘‘Terminator 2’’ and ‘‘Gone in 60 Seconds.’’

The freeway closure was dubbed the ‘‘#101 slowjam’’ on Twitter, and city officials embraced the odd branding as a way to get the word out to motorists to avoid the area for up to 40 hours.

‘‘Sometimes, just sometimes, you have to get your haaaands dirty to build somethin’ beautiful,’’ Mayor Eric Garcetti crooned in a public service spot.

Considered state-of-the-art when it was built in 1932, the bridge has been suffering from a chemical reaction that for decades has weakened its concrete.

‘‘While it is in many ways bittersweet to see the dismantling begin of the historic 6th Street Bridge, it is also symbolic of a new history that is emerging at that site,’’ said Councilmember Jose Huizar, whose district includes the span.

Eventually, the entire 3,500-foot bridge will be replaced by a new roadway that has the potential to become another Hollywood backdrop. A 2019 opening has been set for the $449 million project....


Given their track record out there for big tran$portation projects....

"Plagued by delays, California high-speed rail back in court" by Juliet Williams Associated Press  February 08, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California voters embraced the idea of building the nation’s first real high-speed rail system, which promised to whisk travelers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in under three hours, a trip that can take six hours or more by car. Eight years after they approved funding for it, construction is years behind schedule and legal, financial, and logistical delays plague the $68 billion project.

The bullet train’s timeline, funding, and speed estimates are back in the spotlight for a longstanding lawsuit filed by residents whose property lies in its path.

Wait until the Republican primary hits out there, what with imminent domain being such a hot topic.

In the second phase of a court challenge filed in 2011, attorneys for a group of Central Valley farmers will argue in Sacramento County Superior Court on Thursday that the state can’t keep the promises it made to voters in 2008 about the travel times and system cost. Voters authorized selling $9.9 billion in bonds for a project that was supposed to cost $40 billion.

Not only is it another betrayal by the public $ervants in what has become the $tandard operating procedure in AmeriKan government, it has put the taxpayer's in debt to wealthy individuals and financial institutions which will then carve them up and CDO 'em, etc, etc, etc.

So who stole all the tax loot out there?

In recent months, rail officials have touted construction of a viaduct in Madera County, the first visible sign of construction. Though officials have been working for years to acquire the thousands of parcels of land required for the project, they currently have just 63 percent of the parcels needed for the first 29 miles in the Central Valley.

And as planning continues, opposition has mounted in Southern California, where bullet train officials are weighing four potential routes.

Damn public!

‘‘You can’t build a 520-mile system like this and not have some impacts somewhere,’’ said Dan Richard, chairman of the politically appointed board that oversees the rail project. He said officials have tried to work with community leaders to solve problems when they arise.

Money remains the biggest challenge, but there are political hurdles, too.

What was that about money?

As part of a deal with the Legislature to secure funding from California’s fee on polluters, Governor Jerry Brown’s administration agreed to extend the rail system south to Burbank before it heads north. But at a recent legislative hearing, rail officials indicated that they may reverse course when the rail authority releases its new business plan later in February.

On the money side, California has the voter-approved bonds, $2.5 billion in federal stimulus funds that must be spent by September 2017, and a quarter of fluctuating revenues from the state’s cap-and-trade program, which could eventually hit $500 million a year. Each of those funding sources carries political and legal risks, the state’s independent legislative analyst has noted.

‘‘What people are now talking about is we’re going to end up with a 130-mile mound of dirt. They’re going to run out of money sometime by 2017,’’ said Stuart Flashman, an attorney who represents the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the state. ‘‘At that point they’re not even going to be starting laying tracks. They’re certainly not going to be having anything usable for trains.’’

Where did all the money go?

The board chairman, Richard, said this month that the upcoming business plan could lower the project’s overall cost, as the authority has inked contracts at lower-than-expected rates.

Yeah, whatever. 

They lied to you in Flint.

In responses solicited by the rail project, private companies earlier this year indicated strong interest in construction, supplying infrastructure such as train cars, and operating the line. But virtually none said they were willing to take the financial risk until passengers are actually riding, which won’t happen until at least 2022.

What you do is have taxpayers, 'er, government guarantee to cover all their losses, cost overruns, lost loot, what have you. Then they do it.

Also, an independent peer review group that oversees California high-speed rail added: ‘‘It is not uncommon for most new services to face initial losses, which could conflict with another mandate in the bond financing that states the rail service would not require an ‘operating subsidy.’ ’’

Then have the PTB waive or alter that. What's the problem here? Gotta get 'em loot!

Other terms of that initiative also will be before Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny this week. A group of landowners in the Central Valley filed suit over the project, arguing that compromises made to cut the price mean the train won’t be able to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours and 40 minutes as voters were told. Critics argue trains cannot traverse the steep Tehachapi Mountains in Southern California at the necessary 220 miles per hour.

Good thing the earth shook a little bit because I was getting angry regarding the will of the voters and neglectful, ignorant government.

More grounded now.

‘‘I have never had one of our engineers or anybody come to me and say we’re not going to be able to make the 2:40,’’ Richard said. ‘‘We are committed to it, that is the law, that’s what we’re building.’’

Did he just waive a wand, too? 

These rote reflex liars staffing government at all levels these day.

What a putrid collection of cretins is the political cla$$ of AmeriKa.

Kenny previously ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, agreeing the state had failed to meet the mandates that it identify funding for the first useable segment before starting construction and have all the needed environmental clearances in hand. But an appeals court reversed the ruling, saying the lawsuit was premature.

That is going to be the story of the 21st-century and the decline of AmeriKan Empire. It's states failed, even when they had the courts behind them.

Political winds could be shifting, too, depending on the details of the rail authority’s anticipated business plan.

Let me put my finger up. 

Yeah, they are. Hot wind, too.

Republicans in the Legislature have always opposed the project, and support among Democrats has sometimes been tepid, though the Democratic governor has been a consistent advocate. 

Brown is a two-faced $cum.

Looks like I line up with Repugs on this one, although I am for the high-speed rail that will be online just in time for elite rule on this planet, after they have dispatched with all us useless eaters. 

Give 'em the tax loot, hey! 

To hell with your health and well-being, citizen!

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, a Democrat from San Diego, has promised ‘‘a broader range of oversight actions in 2016’’ on high-speed rail, which will include a hearing next month by the Assembly Transportation Committee.



Well, no going back there.