Skip to comments.California review group blasts high-speed rail's funding plan
Posted on 01/03/2012 11:08:59 PM PST by SmithL
In another setback for high-speed rail in California, the project's peer review group told lawmakers today that it could not recommend bond funding for high-speed rail construction until its prospects for long-term funding are clearer.
"The fact that the Funding Plan fails to identify any long term funding commitments is a fundamental flaw in the program," the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group said in a letter to legislative leaders. "Without committed funds, a mega-project of this nature could be forced to halt construction for many years before additional funding could be obtained."
The peer review group, chaired by former Caltrans director Will Kempton, said many of the California High-Speed Rail Authority's projections remain optimistic.
The group said in its report that "we cannot overemphasize the fact that moving ahead on the HSR project without credible sources of adequate funding, without a definitive business model, without a strategy to maximize the independent utility and value to the State, and without the appropriate management resources, represents an immense financial risk on the part of the state of California."
The report comes at a crucial time, with high-speed rail proponents planning to ask the Legislature this year to appropriate bond proceeds to start construction in the Central Valley. The Rail Authority last year revised the project's estimated cost to almost $100 billion over 20 years, and public sentiment is turning against it, according to a recent Field Poll.
(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.sacbee.com ...
The pro rail democrats trip into Fantasy Land is coming to an end. Thank Jesus.
The odd question which should be asked...if it costs a hundred billion to build...would you recover the money in twenty to thirty years? If so...how much would the ticket actually cost you? Once you get that answer....then the whole game falls apart.
The Germans put a huge amount of money into building a high-speed rail between Frankfurt and Koln. The normal rail time was around 2.5 hours. The end point in Frankfurt was the airport. So everyone at the beginning felt this would be a huge deal and make money. The end result? It’s a 55-minute ride on this high-speed rail....which costs around $130 one-way. A regular train ticket cost is round $40. You can do the math here. They now run this about once per hour, and it’s mostly wealthy business men who can afford the trip. The two-car train is never full....and mostly runs with just a few passengers on each trip. The analysis here is that once you figure the cost factor at the end....then the whole idea falls apart.
You mean all that land that Reid probably bought when he pushed this deal through might not get used?
This first link of the high speed rail is between Fresno and Bakersfield, not exactly a high population area. But, it is an area that will allow the train to reach top speeds so the “show” factor of high speed rail will be in the first link.
In the populated area like the planned section from San Franciso to Los Angeles, ridership would be much higher but the train will not travel anywhere near speeds that are top speed. Top speed will be above the speeds of existing rail but definately not high speed in the 200 mph + range.
There are also mountains and tunneling to contend with in the planned route from Bakersfield to Los Angeles via a route that takes the train through Palmdale first.
The projections are that it will be 20 years before the run from San Diego to San Francisco is completed, if as the article says they ever can find the money to complete it at all.
Take note of a couple of things. First, to take the "Desert Express to Vegas, you first have to drive your car a big part of the way there.
More siginificant for ridership numbers, the high speed rail does not touch the Los Angeles Airport.
Riders hoping to take the high speed rail from outlying areas will have to first go to Union Station in downtown LA, then take one of the subway connections that gets them near the airpot but not to it. Taxi or bus time with all that luggage.
Compare that to Hong Kong where you board the high speed train and check your baggage for the flight at the downtown rail terminal and then make the journey direct to the airport.
I suspect it’s like any other transportation project in recent memory: an initial “buy-in” that the locals can’t turn down, followed by funding by the taxpayers ad infinitum.
One gets the impression from the layout that the purpose of the ROW layout is to get beggars, bureaucrats, and lobbyists to and from Sacramento.