The memo examines various scenarios where ARRA funding and Prop 1A bonds, of which a total of $3.3 billion is claimed to be available, are combined with new federal funding to reach a threshold of "independent utility" for one of the many segments of the California high-speed rail project.
If the San Francisco to San Jose segment were chosen as the initial recipient of this funding, then nearly $4 billion would become available for construction, still quite short of what will ultimately be necessary. The hypothetical question examined in the memo is how this money would be spent.
- the CHSRA is starting to realize that they can't use a "Big Bang" approach where everything is constructed at once. For the first time, there is talk of phasing and a "building block" approach within the peninsula segment.
- phasing means construction would start first on the ~26 mile stretch between San Francisco and Redwood City, avoiding the controversy in PAMPA (Palo Alto - Menlo Park - Atherton).
- $4 billion would only cover elevated grade separations; trenches through Burlingame and San Mateo would not be included.
- ERTMS is mentioned in the same breath as CBOSS, an encouraging first baby step in the right direction.
- FRA would likely frown on using high-speed rail funds to provide "independent utility" for what is primarily a commuter rail corridor, not an intercity corridor