Monday, September 27, 2010

Sprinter Update

From SDrosta:

The Sprinter update!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010
posted by Jerome Stocks 
The final accounting for the Sprinter rail project is in. The final federally approved budget was $484.1 million dollars, and the project is now closed out. The final tab was $477.628 million.

The Sprinter opened for service to the public in March of 2008,  was the lowest cost per mile rail project in the U.S.A., moves a lot more people than the bus routes it replaced using fewer employees, and has an excellent on-time performance record.   

On another, somewhat unrelated note, the Board of the North County Transit District voted on September 16th to reduce fares to the riding public on a promotional basis for the year 2011. It’s nice to have a public agency reduce fares instead of increasing them!

Poway Roger says:
As I recall, the Sprinter was quite a bit over budget (Correct me if I am wrong here). While the “Final” budget might be more than the actual tab, when you keep adjusting figures up and up, of course the Sprinter will look like a financial boom.

But let’s look at the original price tab and then compare it to the final tab and then ask yourself if it was really worth it.

DUDEBRO, sucks to be called out by a real conservative who has the balls to speak his principles.

  1. The projected Sprinter ridership was 12,000 — I believe it is running at under 7,000. Over 3/4 of the ridership are former bus riders, and does not have the flexibility of bus transportation.
    The Sprinter backs up traffic as it crosses various roads. That wastes time, and increases auto fuel consumption.
    So why spend almost half a billion dollars to get maybe sixteen hundred car riders off the road per day? That’s less than the typical one year increase in Hwy 78 traffic.
  2. Of course, the sadly humorous part is this puff piece touting the efficiency of the Sprinter. It gives the absurd impression that this train construction actually came in slightly UNDER budget. Au contraire!
    When the Sprinter was first envisioned 20 years ago, the projected cost was around $50 million. When construction grew closer, it was more like $160 million. It came in at just under $500 million.
    Stocks talks about the purported low cost of operation — but ignores the sky high capital cost, with no sinking fund for equipment replacement. The nuttiness of the Sprinter becomes apparent when comparing the total taxpayer per passenger mile cost of the Sprinter with the cost of subsidizing bus transportation — including the amortized capital costs of both modes.
  3. I must apologize for my first post. I think I misrepresented the effect of the Sprinter.
    I said that the Sprinter would remove “maybe sixteen hundred car riders off the road per day.” I now realize that could be interpreted as 1,600 cars off the roads. OOPS!
    Assuming people using the Sprinter (or driving) are doing round trips, that’s only 800 cars a day removed from the North County roads. And in turn that 800 figure is too high because it assumes that there’s only one person per car. The average is a bit over 1.2 persons per car.
    Again, my apologies for my sloppy implication concerning the benefit (albeit limited) of the Sprinter train service.
See Also:
Jerome Cheats Another Award Process for the Sprinter
More Mail Order Awards
Sand Lobbyist Awards Own Project


  1. With all due respect to Mr. Richard Rider, the passenger count is just the start of the trouble.

    As the Sprinter went into service, three bus routes (302, 318, and 320 express) were reconfigured or eliminated to force 8,000 existing passengers onto the Sprinter.

    With only 7,000 weekday boardings (estimated, NCTD won’t release ridership figures for 2010 even after repeated email requests to Mr. Alex Wiggins in their public relations department), it is reasonable to presume that the train has caused those thousand daily boardings (500 round trips) to drive.

    That’s an extra 500 cars on the road. The Sprinter has made congestion worse, not better. Couple that with drastic reductions in Breeze bus service over the last few years and you’ve got a system on the verge of failure.

    More Details in “Sprinter: A solution seeking a problem" (June 13, 2007)

  2. Don't even get me started on RINO Stocks.

    That man is the tax payers worse nightmare and the union bosses best freind. He, Dalager and Houlihan were behind the 40% spike in all City pensions including their own in 2005 along with a nice hefty 14% raise for all City employees. All at a time when unemployment was skyrocketing.

    RINO Stocks is the exact type of politician that needs to be removed from this country and fast. He caused this mess. Throw the bums out! Dalager in 2010 and Stocks and Houlihan in 2012.

  3. I am the most dangerous man in educated voter.

    Throw da bums out!!!

  4. I love my children.

    Throw the bums out in November.

  5. E 'vero! Penso che questo sia una buona idea.
    Condivido pienamente il suo punto di vista. Si tratta di qualcosa di diverso e l'idea di mantenere.

  6. Italian to English translation

    "It 's true! I think this is a good idea. I fully share his view. This is something different and the idea of keeping."

    Thank you to Google Translate

    Google Translate, è una buona cosa

  7. If this sprinter is such a good thing, then why is stocks fighting at grade crossings for the coaster. They have them for the sprinter. If we had them for the coaster perhaps it would be as good as the sprinter and we wouldn't have to build the homeless sleeping shelters (tunnels).

  8. I love his Fonzie jacket.

  9. Start with Dalager then move on to Stocks and Houlihan in 2012. Shake up city hall, clean house.

    Bond will be dead or have one foot in the grave by 2012. If he remembers to run for election again, kick his ass to the sidewalk also.

    Get angry, stay angry!!

  10. I stand corrected. By someone who follows the story better than I.

    At first the NCTD was quite forthcoming with passenger counts — blithely assuming that a steady upward trend would quickly become apparent — and wanting to publicize same.

    I suspect that when it became apparent that no such trend was anywhere to be seen, then the district went dark. Or maybe they simply stopped keeping count (economic move!).

  11. The original cost projection was $351.5 million when construction started. The only reason Stocks can say it came in under budget is because NCTD kept increasing the budget — sometimes at the insistence of the feds.

    Here's an editorial from 2006 about the cost overruns.

  12. This is an example of why we need to support the expansion of I5 - let's not get fooled by those who say "let's just invest in trains, etc.". Th fact is we need to both, not either or.

  13. Stocks like it because his union buddies get to hire locomotive engineers that are union with high union wages and pensions at the public expense. Not only did his union bosses told Jerome to support the project, now that its in place the public is at the mercy of the union employees. I want hire pension and pay or I will strike. Just like our union brothers and sisters do in France while bringing the commerce to a crawl as the union leaches work out their mega pension deals.

    Stocks is a RINO that needs to be run out the County. He fits better with the Clinton crowd in Arkansas.

  14. We should narrow I-5 and make the people ride the wonderful trains. If you build your life/career around a commute... at least do it in a smart way!

    Doesn't somebody get it? Riding alone in a 6 passenger SUV in standstill traffic on an 18 lane highway for 30+ minutes each day is just PURE STUPIDITY. LA is for that.

  15. Why is a train smarter?

    If I live in Encinitas and work in Oceanside it is going to take me 30 minutes a day if I drive and and over an hour and half if I take the bus.

    Which is more stupid?

    Should we outlaw living further than 3 miles from your place of work? How about outlawing shopping or playing further than 5 miles from home?

  16. Try getting to Mira Mesa from Encinitas, that would be a 2 hour bur ride each way. I'm keeping the car

  17. Take a minute to look at the expression on Jerome's face. That is what he looks like if you dare to speak at a City Council meeting. That face represents what he thinks of the voters in Encinitas.

    On one hand, I want him to run for a state office and get him out of town. What I really want is for him to run and be defeated by anyone else from either party. I am a Republican but can not vote for him EVER.

  18. The original estimated cost of the Sprinter, from the North County Times:

    When the district initially sought bids for the Sprinter in 2004, for example, its cost was listed at $351 million. The estimate in 1990, by contrast, was $60 million, or about $102 million adjusted for inflation.

    The final price tag closes one chapter in the Sprinter's long and contested financial history. That history includes more than $22 million in settlement payments from NCTD to the project's builder in 2007 and 2009 for delays, allegedly caused by flaws in the project's design, plus skyrocketing material costs experienced during construction.

    Reference: "Sprinter project finishes at $477.6M" (April 28, 2010)

  19. 3:26-

    I am with you. All Republicans should boot out the union kiss up RINO Stocks. He is pathetic.

  20. Look for the union label.

    It's on Jerome Stocks' forehead.

  21. WC- Good one.

    Who would have known Stocks was a Clinton Lover.

    Love it- Look for the union lable. Its on Stocks head. Thats the best one I've heard on this blog in about 6 months.

  22. I saw Jerome's post on SD Rostra last week. The best part is Richard Rider's rebuttals, which have been added to. Normally Jerome comes back and answers with sarcasm. Nothing so far.

    There is an unreality that has come over Jerome. His unstable behavior has become scary. There were two moments at the Sept. 22 council meeting. The first was a reaction to comments made in Oral Communications about Mayor Dalager resigning and the second to comments made about the city's refusal to release the Pavement Maintenance Report.

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  24. Anon 3:18 -

    If you drive to Mira Mesa on a regular basis (i.e. commute) then you should probably not be living in Encinitas. Or, as I suggest, you should commute in a smarter way.

    But no, you probably will say, "I'm free. I'll live where I want to live. I'll work where I want to work." True, but you'll likely whine when your commute takes a long time. You'll whine when gasoline costs $4, $5, $6+ per gallon in the coming years. You'll whine that the 12 lanes on I-5 isn't wide enough. You'll want 18. You'll whine that the bus is late, etc.

    The real problem is the choice to make routine trip to Mira Mesa (or whatever far place). That is a recipe for pain. That is the disease. Don't whine about the symptoms when you know the cure. Adding even more lanes to a 12+ lane highway will not solve your problem.

  25. I have to say. I commute all over the place, and widening I5 is just making us more like LA and less like Santa Barbara every day.

  26. If anyone goes to Ms. Gaspar's website you will see she is endorsed by both Jerome Stocks and Christy Guerin. That is enough for me, not to vote for her.

  27. Jerome Stocks looks like that fat guy from Bell - the city manager who was ripping off the city. Stocks gets his kickbacks too; he just hides them better than the country hick Dalager. Maybe Dalager is the next Cal Worthington - he had his dog Checkers with him on that pathetic political mailer... That's animal cruelty - it wrecked the dog's good reputation being seen with Dalager.


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