Skip to comments.New York Times: This high-speed rail thing is kinda’ becoming a disaster for Jerry Brown
Posted on 01/07/2014 8:08:37 PM PST by SeekAndFind
California’s ludicrously ambitious plan to build a high-speed railway connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco has been besieged with all kinds of problems from almost the moment of its official conception, but let that not restrain California Democrats from doubling down on what they seem to view as their iliadic quest to make high-speed rail happen. Back in August, a judge declared that the project had already violated the 2008 ballot initiative that first authorized the $10 billion in bonds for the 500-mile train, because the state didn’t actually having funding sources on the books for the $31 billion required to build even just the 290-mile “initial segment” — not to mention that the oh-so-green state had flouted the necessary environmental clearances. Governor Jerry Brown deemed the judge’s ruling a mere “setback,” ho hum, but the project has since encountered still more judicial “setbacks” and the calls for California to just cut its losses are getting louder. The NYT reports:
Gov. Jerry Brown of California is riding into an election year on a wave of popularity and an upturn in the states fortunes. But a project that has become a personal crusade for him over the past two years a 520-mile high-speed train line from Los Angeles to San Francisco is in trouble, reeling from a court ruling that undermined its financing, and from slipping public support and opponents rising calls to shut it down. …
Its time for the governor to pull up the tracks, said Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, who is the majority whip in the House. Everything he has said has not come to fruition. Its time to scratch the project. …
The ruling in November by a Superior Court judge in Sacramento blocked the state from using $8.6 billion in bond money to finance the first part of the train line, saying officials had failed to explain where they would find the remaining funds. That, in turn, jeopardized Californias access to more than $3 billion in federal matching funds, which are contingent on a state contribution. …
I dont see them getting any more money from the federal government, Mr. McCarthy said. I dont see $9 billion to build it from California taxpayers, and I dont see them getting any private investment.
If Gov. Brown won’t abandon the endeavor himself, suggest opponents, he should at least put the struggling project back before voters, but even that is probably too much to hope for. The initial project outline didn’t even peg the project at completion by 2029, for goodness’ sake, to the tune of a $68 billion estimate that will surely increase even more as it encounters more “setbacks” and delays — and the NYT says that polls suggest putting the issue back before voters is a fight Brown wouldn’t win.
Wind power is at least a millennium old.
Neither are the way of the future.
“Gov. Jerry Brown of California is riding into an election year on a wave of popularity and an upturn in the states fortunes.”
California is doing great now?
Another Democrat chief executive, driving his administration and his constituents into a “disaster.”
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One way flights between SFO and LAX every hour for $59 on a Delta. 1 hr and 27 min.
How can you possibly beat that? How cheap does the 5 hour train ride to Victorville (out in the middle of nowhere) have to be to make financial sense for a passenger?
Jerry Brown: Making everything a disaster in California since 1970.
Earth to Jerry”MoonBeam”Brown:”This Ain’t Europe”!!!!!!!!!!!
It is always good to know that good old jesuit Jer still promotes his socialist vision in the face of facts that would deter a sane and rational man
First of all, it’s not high speed. Second, it goes from nowhere to nowhere. How can this be bad?
Latest cost estimate I've seen is nearly $100 billion. (By comparison, the entire annual Cali budget is just over $200 billion).
The first segment? Joining the metropolises of Madera (nowhere) and Bakersfield (nowheresville). Driving time between the two towns is less than 2 hours. Even if a train took less than 45 minutes (unlikely), the total trip would be about 2 hours, counting all the parking, ticketing, terminal stuff, etc.
Who wants to ride the Bullet Train? Nobody. I've lived here in the Golden State for decades, I know zillions of liberals, and nobody has ever said to me that they would willingly ride that thing. Nobody!
The train promises to go from S.F. to L.A. in less than 3 hours, is this possible? Nupe. Even if it didn't stop at the 6 or so stops, one seriously suspects that it's not going average anywhere near 200 mph (and that's on a good day. Trains are always late, always).
The Dems think that at least there will be a jobs benefit, which we conservatives know to be nonsense. The opportunity cost of the loss of 100B will cost more jobs (and cause more business emigration) than any temp union jobs to build the thing (which will never be completed, anyway.)
I could go on...
High speed rail works in Europe and Japan for two reasons: cities are closer in distance, driving cars is very expensive and since the government subsidizes rail fares, its cheaper than flying by plane.
All the opposite is true here: cities are far apart, driving a car is inexpensive even long distance and rail fares will never be competitive with air fares, period.
And its just not suited for California. Light rail does work in the LA metro area but that’s because its very densely populated. That’s not true of the rural hinterland between LA and SF.
Jerry Brown is chasing after the Taj Mahal of trains. Its the ultimate White Elephant. California could more sensibly spend its scarce transportation dollars than on a political prestige project to nowhere. And its one that will never get built.
Give Erika Johnsen the Captain Obvious Award for her brilliant work.
Well, one way or another, I’m sure Pelosi’s hubby will still make a fortune.
“The ruling in November by a Superior Court judge in Sacramento blocked the state from using $8.6 billion in bond money to finance the first part of the train line, saying officials had failed to explain where they would find the remaining funds. That, in turn, jeopardized Californias access to more than $3 billion in federal matching funds, which are contingent on a state contribution. ”
the entire funding model is this: Starting with the completed project, work backwards to set a series of exponentially decreasing “intermediate” goals, get promises that each time you achieve one goal you get money for the next. Then, by hook or by crook scrape up sufficient money to get MOST of the way to the first, smallest, goal — close enough so you can say “Look, if we just throw some more money at it, we’ll get funding for the next (larger) stage, with all the jobs that will bring. Then repeat.
In other words, a cascade of “too big to fail” crises, where at each stage you convince the taxpayer that they’ve poured in so much money on that stage that going forward to the next stage makes more sense than going back.
It's actually written by a disaffected but unrepentant leftist.
Most of the substrate along the route is clay. Methinks the passengers will get the heaves.
The whole point of this gambit is for investors to play "pump and dump" with the applicable penny stocks and real estate affected by the project. Richard Blum is one of the biggest players in this game.
Why not pour the money into a line from LA to Las Vegas? That might make money and you might get the Casinos to pay for it.
Didn’t we see this movie? As I recall, Governor Lamar stands to lose a whole bunch of real estate profit if the train tracks don’t run through Rock Ridge...........