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Keyword: boondoggle

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  • High-speed rail may be only $59 billion short. Yeah, that’ll work

    03/31/2012 8:44:14 AM PDT · by Mark Landsbaum · 13 replies
    pparently desperate to get spending underway on the California High-Speed Rail project, Gov. Jerry Brown has dramatically cut how much it will cost. No longer will the train cost $89 billion more than state taxpayers have to pay for it. Now it’ll be only $59 billion short. Yeah, that’s like saying you will drown in only 59 feet of water instead of the deep end – 89 feet...
  • Brown pins legacy to Calif. high-speed rail plans

    02/18/2012 11:02:29 AM PST · by SmithL · 21 replies · 1+ views
    AP via SFGate ^ | 2/18/12 | JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press
    Critics have called it the train to nowhere and a $98 billion boondoggle. As concerns mount over the practicality and affordability of California's plan to build a high-speed rail system, even many former supporters are beginning to sound skeptical. Not so Gov. Jerry Brown. He has emerged as the most vocal cheerleader of a project that is as risky as it is ambitious. Building a first-in-the-nation project would provide a lasting legacy for the 73-year-old Democratic governor as he moves into the twilight of a long political career. His father is revered for promoting the construction of California's comprehensive water...
  • High-speed rail’s risks getting riskier, more expensive

    01/24/2012 4:04:55 PM PST · by landsbaum · 5 replies
    The state’s auditor said today despite its critical report last year on the high-speed rail project, the rail authority’s “funding situation has become increasingly risky and the authority’s weak oversight persists.” . . . “The cost estimates for phase one increased to between $98.1 billion and $117.6 billion—of which approximately $12.5 billion has been secured,” the auditor says. Remember when the cost was about $35 billion? Then about $45 billion? Then about $98 billion? And now, the auditor says it’s up to $117 billion?
  • This is supposed to be an argument FOR high-speed rail?

    01/23/2012 1:42:23 PM PST · by Mark Landsbaum · 2 replies
    A host of newspapers up and down the state have run an extremely long article that we guess is supposed to make a case for California’s boondoggle express, AKA high-speed rail. Did it occur to anyone what the bottom line is? It was 1,413 words into this epic, written by a Fresno Bee reporter and published in our paper, when the reader is given what we find to be the most pertinent of information: “There is no question whether (Spain’s system) can cover its costs. It cannot,” ...
  • High-speed rail, the third-fastest way to Chicago!

    01/18/2012 7:48:57 PM PST · by WOBBLY BOB · 39 replies
    pioneer press ^ | 1-18-12 | joe soucheray
    E.R. Companion, of Eagan, writing to the editor in Sunday's Pioneer Press, wondered why our elected officials would commit to spending billions of dollars for a so-called high-speed rail line from the Twin Cities to Chicago. (Well, because they're nuts.) Companion was referring to a story that appeared Jan. 12 featuring the idea that the Minnesota Department of Transportation has begun studying environmental impacts along the 400-mile route, which would take passengers to Chicago, through Milwaukee, in an advertised five hours and 30 minutes. Companion wondered what was high-speed about that, and I could not agree more with his sentiment....
  • California high-speed rail head Roelof van Ark resigns

    01/12/2012 6:54:45 PM PST · by SmithL · 10 replies
    SacBee: Capitol Alert ^ | 1/12/12 | David Siders
    Roelof van Ark, chief executive officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, announced this afternoon that he is quitting, the latest setback for the state's beleaguered campaign to build a nearly $100 billion rail network in California. His resignation, announced at a board meeting in Los Angeles and effective in two months, comes at a critical point for the project, with rail officials bidding for Legislative approval to start construction in the Central Valley this fall. Public opinion about the project has fallen sharply, according to a recent Field Poll, and the Legislature is highly skeptical. Minutes after van Ark's...
  • High-speed rail: just 1.2 miles of railway in Chilterns will be above ground (UK's HS2)

    01/11/2012 12:31:27 AM PST · by Olog-hai · 3 replies
    Daily Telegraph (UK) ^ | 12:16PM GMT 10 Jan 2012 | David Millward, Transport Editor
    Just 1.2 miles of the new High Speed Rail line in the Chilterns will be above ground in an attempt to lessen the visual impact of the controversial project. Direct train services linking Birmingham to Paris in just over three hours will be possible from the middle of the next decade after the Government confirmed it will press ahead with plans for a high speed rail network. The decision to include a direct link between the existing high speed line from London to the Channel Tunnel and the new route up to Birmingham was the biggest surprise in the announcement...
  • It's time to kill California's bullet train boondoggle

    01/08/2012 8:48:35 AM PST · by SmithL · 29 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 1/8/12 | Dan Walters
    JIt's one thing for politicians, ordinary citizens, lawyers or even media pundits to say that California's bullet train project is fatally flawed and should be scrapped before it becomes a hopeless money pit.Bullet train zealots dismiss those naysayers as uninformed or biased, and even reject milder criticism from the Legislature's budget analyst.But when the California High-Speed Rail Authority's own "peer review" committee of transportation experts says the project is half-baked and should be put on hold, Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature should pay heed. And that's exactly what happened last week. The peer reviewers, headed by former Caltrans director...
  • High-speed rail line is given the green light (UK’s HS2)

    01/06/2012 9:45:42 PM PST · by Olog-hai · 2 replies
    Daily Telegraph (UK) ^ | 8:00AM GMT 07 Jan 2011 | James Kirkup, Deputy Political Editor
    The £32-billion high-speed rail line from London to Birmingham has been given final approval and will go ahead as proposed, ministers will announce next week. Justine Greening, the Transport Secretary, will disclose that the Coalition has rejected calls to abandon or alter its plans for the project, which will see trains travelling at 250mph through the Chilterns. The decision will be welcomed by business leaders but will dismay critics — including some senior Conservatives — who fear the new line will spoil some of the most beautiful parts of rural England. Construction of the 100 mile-long line to Birmingham will...
  • Modern dancers, bed-bug battlers, earth worshipers get EPA ‘environmental justice’ grants

    01/06/2012 9:57:22 AM PST · by Nachum · 8 replies · 1+ views
    Daily Caller ^ | 1/6/12 | Frank York
    In 2011 the Environmental Protection Agency provided $1 million in grants to 46 different non-profit and tribal organizations to promote what it called “environmental justice.” Since 1994, a little-noticed EPA program has handed out a total of $23 million in such grants to 1,253 organizations, for stated purposes that observers are questioning. President Bill Clinton and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) were responsible for implementing “environmental justice” as part of the EPA’s mission. In early 1990, following a lobbying push by the CBC, the EPA established the Environmental Equity Workgroup. In 1994 it was renamed the Office of Environmental Justice.
  • Worse than Madoff? USDA biofuels investment goes bust

    01/06/2012 10:02:01 AM PST · by opentalk · 8 replies
    Canada Freepress ^ | January 6, 2012 | Institute for Energy Research
    USDA-backed biofuels plant in Soperton, Georgia has lost taxpayers nearly $60 millionWASHINGTON D.C.—Upon reports Tuesday that a USDA-backed biofuels plant in Soperton, Georgia has lost taxpayers nearly $60 million, IER President Tom Pyleissued the following statement:“Apparently U.S. taxpayers have yet to discover life after Solyndra. Today’s announcement that a USDA-backed biofuels plant has been sold for pennies on the dollar—at a loss of nearly $60 million to U.S. taxpayers —further underscores the point that the federal government should not be in the venture capital business.The Bush administration secured the Range Fuels loan, and the Obama administration doubled down on the...
  • Fed says expand Fannie, Freddie role to aid housing

    01/05/2012 9:25:34 AM PST · by mojito · 19 replies
    Reuters ^ | 1/5/2012 | Mark Felsenthal and Margaret Chadbourn
    The U.S. government-run mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could play a bigger role in turning around the battered U.S. housing market, the Federal Reserve told Congress, a call that looks set to run into stiff political opposition. The Fed, in a paper sent to lawmakers on Wednesday, outlined an array of steps that could be taken to help the housing sector, including allowing Fannie and Freddie to provide cheaper mortgages to a broader pool of homeowners. The two companies, the biggest sources of U.S. mortgage funding, were seized by the government in 2008 when they were on...
  • Wind Power and the free market

    01/04/2012 10:50:23 AM PST · by Recon Dad · 23 replies · 1+ views
    Institute for Energy Research ^ | 1/4/2012 | Robert Murphy
    The Institute for Energy Research (IER) is committed to free-market policy solutions for America’s energy needs. IER has repeatedly argued that reducing the federal government’s intervention in the energy sector would reduce prices for consumers and, especially in our current recession, would create thousands of good jobs for unemployed workers. In this context, a recent opinion piece on FoxNews by Steve Lockard—CEO of a company making wind turbines and a board member of the American Wind Energy Association—was quite ironic. Lockard was trying to appeal to conservative readers by claiming that the Congress was threatening to destroy American jobs through...
  • Solar Company Scraps Factory, Leaves Michigan in Dark (GlobalWatt)

    01/03/2012 11:20:34 AM PST · by Libloather · 20 replies
    NBC Bay Area ^ | 1/02/12 | Scott McGrew
    Solar Company Scraps Factory, Leaves Mich. in DarkGrant applications don't match up with solar company's other information. By Scott McGrew | Monday, Jan 2, 2012 | Updated 2:59 PM PST A San Jose-based company has pulled out of plans to build a multimillion-dollar solar cell factory in Saginaw, Mich. GlobalWatt CEO Sanjeev Chitre blamed the shutdown on the poor economy and competition from overseas; however, many critics are wondering if there really was much of a factory to shut down. Far from a mega-factory promised in early paperwork, GlobalWatt's Saginaw operations actually employed slightly more than a dozen workers. GlobalWatt...
  • Motorists Paying for Bike Paths, Museums

    12/29/2011 9:13:04 AM PST · by MichCapCon · 22 replies · 1+ views
    Capitol Confidential ^ | 12/29/2011 | Russ Harding
    Where I live outside of Lansing, there are new bike paths sporting shiny asphalt, but the roads are crumbling. Motorists might be surprised to learn that of the 18.4 cents per gallon of federal gas tax they pay at the pump, only about 11 cents goes to maintain highways and bridges. According to federal law, about 10 percent of federal highway funds must be used for projects such as highway beautification and transportation museums. According to a new National Center for Policy Analysis report, “Paying for Pet Projects at the Pump,” the Federal Highway Administration also allocates gas tax revenues...
  • Utilities Commission rejects further study of proposed solar energy project in Willmar, Minn.

    12/28/2011 3:14:59 PM PST · by WOBBLY BOB · 8 replies
    West Central Tribune ^ | 12- | David Little
    WILLMAR — The Willmar Municipal Utilities Commission on Tuesday rejected a motion to study the feasibility of a solar project for Willmar Municipal Utilities at this time. The commission defeated a motion to sign a nonbinding letter of intent with tenKsolar of Minneapolis to study the feasibility of a 600-kilowatt-hour project as a showcase to prospective national and worldwide customers. The study had been proposed by tenKsolar executives Joel Cannon, chief executive officer, and Jim Losleben, business development vice president.
  • High-Speed Rail Project in California Under Scrutiny

    12/23/2011 10:37:50 PM PST · by Steelfish · 36 replies
    FoxNews ^ | December 23, 2011 | William Lajeunesse
    High-Speed Rail Project in California Under Scrutiny By William Lajeunesse December 23, 2011 The Obama administration's plans for a bullet train could be headed off the tracks in California, the one state where its high-speed rail initiative is still alive. Since the project was first unveiled in 2008, officials tripled its projected cost, delayed its start of service 13 years, downsized ridership projections and increased ticket prices. Almost two-thirds of Californians now say they'd vote against issuing bonds to pay for a project they narrowly approved just three years ago. "It is not viable. It is not the best use...
  • Chevy Volt Costing Taxpayers Up to $250K Per Vehicle

    12/21/2011 1:02:05 PM PST · by Attention Surplus Disorder · 20 replies · 1+ views
    Michigan Capitol Confidential ^ | Dec. 21, 2011 | Tom Gantert
    Each Chevy Volt sold thus far may have as much as $250,000 in state and federal dollars in incentives behind it – a total of $3 billion altogether, according to an analysis by James Hohman, assistant director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Hohman looked at total state and federal assistance offered for the development and production of the Chevy Volt, General Motors’ plug-in hybrid electric vehicle. His analysis included 18 government deals that included loans, rebates, grants and tax credits. The amount of government assistance does not include the fact that General Motors is currently...
  • Cost of reaching for the sun will soar

    12/21/2011 8:28:07 AM PST · by SmithL · 21 replies
    Sacramento Bee ^ | 12/21/11 | Dan Walters
    As Gov. Jerry Brown participated in a Capitol menorah-lighting ceremony this week to mark the onset of the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, he uttered a secular prayer for a miracle that would make California a model of carbon-free energy.Today's miracle, he said, "is not to find more oil, but to utilize the sun," adding, "when we continue to use our intelligence, we're going to take that sun through the miracle of modern science and technology, and we're going to light up California, our cars, our homes, our air conditioners."It was one of several recent events at which Brown disparaged global-warming agnostics...
  • "A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform"

    12/14/2011 9:59:41 PM PST · by John S Mosby · 4 replies
    Released Nov. 16th, 2011 "The analysis of TSA, a federal bureaucracy plagued by significant administrative and operational problems, was prepared by the majority staff of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee." From the report:"“TSA wasted $39 million to procure 207 Explosive Trace Detection Portals . . . deployed only 101 because the machines could not consistently detect explosives . . . [and] . . . paid the Department of Defense $600 per unit to dispose of the useless machines.” In addition: “TSA deployed 500 Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) devices in a haphazard...
  • An outbreak of fiscal sanity in California? (Voters inclined to stop high-speed boondoggle)

    12/07/2011 12:49:03 PM PST · by SeekAndFind · 10 replies
    Hotair ^ | 12/07/2011 | Ed Morrissey
    Is there hope yet for the Golden State? While Governor Jerry Brown attempts to push through a tax increase that will make the state’s income tax even more progressive — and therefore more vulnerable to economic fluctuations — the state’s voters seem inclined to put the brakes on a high-speed boondoggle whose costs have tripled before ground has even been broken (via JWF): Four weeks after the news that the cost of California’s high-speed rail project has tripled since voters approved it, the struggling project is taking another hit: waning public support.A new Field Poll shows that 64 percent of...
  • California Bullet Train Project Advances Amid Cries of Boondoggle (Bullet Train To Nowhere Alert)

    11/27/2011 3:15:47 PM PST · by goldstategop · 25 replies
    New York Times ^ | 11/27/2011 | Adam Nagourney
    he pro-train constituency has not been derailed by a state report this month that found the cost of the bullet train tripling to $98 billion for a project that would not be finished until 2033, by news that Republicans in Congress are close to eliminating federal high-speed rail financing this year, by opposition from California farmers and landowners upset about tracks tearing through their communities or by questions about how much the state or private businesses will be able to contribute. The project has been mocked by editorial boards across the country — “Somebody please stop this train,” The Washington...
  • U.S. Transportation Secretary LaHood Awards Nearly $1 Billion for California High-Speed Rail

    11/27/2011 10:25:17 AM PST · by mdittmar · 61 replies
    U.S. Department of Transportation ^ | November 22, 2011 | U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood
    Building First Segment Will Employ More Than 100,000 People over Next Five Years WASHINGTON - U.S.  Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today awarded a $928.6 million grant to the California High-Speed Rail Authority for initial construction of California High-Speed Rail. Construction will begin next year in Fresno, creating tens of thousands of jobs in California. “California’s population will grow by 60 percent over the next 40 years,” said Secretary LaHood. “Investing in a green, job creating high-speed rail network is less expensive and more practical than paying for all of the expansions to already congested highways and airports that would be necessary to accommodate the state’s...
  • US given 15 days ultimatum to leave Shamsi Airbase

    11/26/2011 10:08:54 AM PST · by Cardhu · 41 replies
    JazzBlog/APF ^ | November 26th 2011 | jazbablog
    ISLAMABAD: The Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) has decided to close NATO/ISAF logistics supply lines with immediate effect also asked US to vacate Shamsi Airbase in 15 days. The DCC also decided that the Government will revisit and undertake a complete review of all programmes, activities and cooperative arrangements with US/NATO/ISAF, including diplomatic, political, military and intelligence. An emergency meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet was chaired by the Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani here this evening at the Prime Minister’s House which was attended by Federal Ministers, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Services Chiefs...
  • 'Green' Debacle: Tens of Thousands of Abandoned Wind Turbines Now Litter America's Landscape

    11/24/2011 10:21:06 AM PST · by LRoggy · 86 replies
    Natural News ^ | November 24th, 2011 | Jonathan Benson, staff writer Naturral News
    (NaturalNews) Literal beacons of the "green" energy movement, giant wind turbines have been one of the renewable energy sources of choice for the US government, which has spent billions of taxpayer dollars subsidizing their construction and use across the country. But high maintenance costs, high rates of failure, and fluctuating weather conditions that affect energy production render wind turbines expensive and inefficient, which is why more than 14,000 of them have since been abandoned. Before government subsidies for the giant metals were cut or eliminated in many areas, wind farms were an energy boom business. But in the post-tax subsidy...
  • Google pulls plug on renewable energy plan (Google admits coal still rules the day)

    11/23/2011 8:27:24 AM PST · by tobyhill · 8 replies
    msnbc ^ | 11/23/2011 | Alexei Oreskovic / Reuters
    Google Inc. has abandoned an ambitious project to make renewable energy cheaper than coal, the latest target of Chief Executive Larry Page's moves to focus the Internet giant on fewer efforts. Google said on Tuesday that it was pulling the plug on seven projects, including Renewable Energy Cheaper than Coal as well as a Wikipedia-like online encyclopedia service known as Knol. The plans, which Google announced on its corporate blog, represent the third so-called "spring cleaning" announcement that Google has made since Google co-founder Page took the reins in April. The changes come as Google is facing stiff competition in...
  • 14,000 abandoned wind turbines

    11/19/2011 12:59:33 PM PST · by afraidfortherepublic · 66 replies
    The Daily Mail ^ | 11-19-11 | Don Surber
    As Jimi Hendrix may have put it: “And the wind cries bankrupt…” Minnesotans for Global Warming report that in the last 30 years, the United States has had 14,000 wind turbines abandoned. Apparently, once the subsidies and the wind run out, these 20-story high Cuisinarts are de-bladed and retired. This means more bats and migratory birds will live. From Minnesotans for Global Warming: “The symbol of Green renewable energy, our savior from the non existent problem of Global Warming, abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the...
  • Bullet train takes a blow to the wallet

    11/17/2011 8:32:19 PM PST · by umgud · 19 replies
    Bakersfield Californian ^ | 11/17/19 | staff
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress voted Thursday to kill funds for President Barack Obama's signature high-speed rail program, but the initiative may have some life in it still................ Obama had requested $8 billion in fiscal 2012 for the program and $53 billion over six years....... But House-Senate bargainers this week agreed to a broad spending bill that eliminates any funding specifically for high-speed trains........... The bill marks "an end to the president's misguided high-speed rail program, but it is not the end of American high-speed rail," said Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa.........
  • Chu: Taxpayers Unlikely to Recover Much From (Obama's) Solyndra Loan

    11/17/2011 8:43:26 AM PST · by tobyhill · 19 replies
    Fox News ^ | 11/17/2011 | fox news
    Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Thursday he doesn't think taxpayers will recover much of their $528 million loan to bankrupt solar firm Solyndra, calling the situation "extremely unfortunate" while continuing to defend his actions to prop up the company before its failure. Chu testified Thursday for the first time before the House committee investigating the Solyndra loan. He insisted that the decision in late 2009 to approve the loan guarantee was his own and "absolutely was made only on the merits." He said it was not influenced by political considerations. But he acknowledged that chances are dim for taxpayers to...
  • Take This Bullet Train Please (The FantasyLand Ride To Nowhere Alert)

    11/16/2011 2:45:16 PM PST · by goldstategop · 16 replies
    Los Angeles Times ^ | 11/06/2011 | Richard White
    The California High-Speed Rail Authority has created a set of models and scenarios to answer the objections to its earlier models and scenarios. These will be parsed in much more detail than I can do here, but it is best to note the assumptions. First, its model assumes that the rail passenger fare will always be cheaper than airfare or driving. A ticket from San Francisco to Anaheim will be $72 in 2005 dollars. This is projected out to 2030. Second, the ridership will be immense — anywhere from 28.6 million to 37.1 million. This admittedly may appear realistic compared...
  • Emails: Energy Dept. tried to delay solar layoffs (Something to 'CHU' on from AP)

    11/16/2011 11:27:47 AM PST · by NormsRevenge · 4 replies
    Yahoo ^ | 11/16/11 | Matthew Daly - AP
    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration wanted the failing solar energy company Solyndra to delay announcing an early round of employee layoffs until after the 2010 midterm elections, according to newly released emails. An October 2010 email from a Solyndra investment adviser to a colleague said Energy Department officials were pushing "very hard" to delay making the layoffs — an early sign of the company's financial woes — public until Nov. 3, 2010 — the day after the midterm elections. "Oddly they didn't give a reason for that date," the email states. The email was released Wednesday by the House...
  • Taxpayers Fund Impractical Cracker Barrel EV Recharging Scheme

    11/04/2011 11:18:26 AM PDT · by jazusamo · 12 replies
    National Legal & Policy Center ^ | November 4, 2011 | Paul Chesser
    If you were going to run a pilot project that deploys charging stations in a network to enhance the use of electric vehicles, what kind of establishments would you locate them at? Whose customers might be most interested in that amenity? Certainly Starbucks comes to mind, as might sustainability-crazy Walmart – but how about Cracker Barrel? It’s true, the down-home chain of Old Country Store restaurants was chosen by Ecotality for a practice run in Tennessee as part of The EV Project, which is funded with a $115 million Department of Energy grant to create infrastructure to support EVs...
  • California High Speed Rail Is Going Nowhere Fast (WashingtonCompost Gets It Right Alert)

    11/14/2011 11:15:10 PM PST · by goldstategop · 11 replies
    Washington Post ^ | 11/13/2011 | Washington Post Editorial
    More realistically, Sacramento’s Legislative Analysis Office calls the Central Valley starting point a “big gamble.” In the all-too-likely event that funding for the rest of the system never materializes, the report adds, “the state will be left with a rail segment unconnected to major urban areas that has little if any chance of generating the ridership to operate without a significant state subsidy.” It would be a train to nowhere, but at least it would go nowhere fast. As questionable as this project is, we would have less business objecting if the only money at risk was California’s. But the...
  • White House Lashes Out at Congress Over 'Partisan' Solyndra Investigation

    11/11/2011 3:18:30 PM PST · by Nachum · 28 replies
    CNS News ^ | 11/11/11 | Fred Lucas
    (CNSNews.com) – A day after newly released e-mails surfaced regarding an Obama donor’s role in asking for a second Solyndra loan, the White House agreed to provide subpoenaed material to the House Energy and Commerce Committee -- but not without a jab. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney called the House probe into the $535-million federal loan to the solar panel firm "partisan." Solyndra is now bankrupt and under FBI investigation. “We have been enormously cooperative with legitimate oversight. In this investigation alone we’ve turned over 85,000 pages of documents,” Carney told reporters Thursday. “We will continue to cooperate with...
  • Another DOE Loan Scandal: Are We Bailing Out Spain’s Solar Collapse?

    11/10/2011 7:49:33 AM PST · by opentalk · 19 replies
    PJ Media ^ | November 10, 2011 | Richard Pollock
    Yet again, evidence of impropriety surrounds the issuance of federal Department of Energy “green” loan guarantees — in this instance, loans were granted to a foreign company with Democratic Party ties. Over the last two years, DOE Secretary Steven Chu has awarded Spain-based Abengoa — a sprawling, multi-national industrial firm operating in 70 countries — loan guarantees worth a staggering $2.78 billion for solar and ethanol plants. Abengoa is a Madrid-based conglomerate that operates throughout Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. It is not starved for cash: according to its 2009 annual report, the firm was valued at...
  • Fannie Mae taps $7.8 billion from Treasury, loss widens

    11/08/2011 4:55:47 PM PST · by Sub-Driver · 18 replies
    Fannie Mae taps $7.8 billion from Treasury, loss widens Photo 6:42pm EST WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fannie Mae, the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, on Tuesday said it needed a further $7.8 billion in federal aid to stay afloat as a shaky housing market widened its third-quarter loss to $5.1 billion. Fannie Mae also attributed the deeper cash drain to losses on derivatives that are used to hedge the firm's exposure to swings in interest rates and expenses related to home loans made prior to the 2008 financial collapse. In the year-earlier quarter it had a loss of...
  • City, Feds Dispute Spiraling Cost of San Francisco Subway Project

    11/07/2011 5:59:02 PM PST · by WOBBLY BOB · 7 replies
    fox ^ | 11-7-11 | Claudia Cowan
    Voters approved the project in 2003, to replace a freeway damaged in the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. Back then, the cost was $647 million. Today, the price tag is $1.6 billion, with the lion's share of the funding still to come from the federal government. In July, San Francisco's Civil Grand Jury concluded the project was poorly designed, won't meet projected ridership levels, and, as the scathing title of its report says, costs "too much money for too little benefit." At about $1 billion per mile, the Central Subway has become a driving force in Tuesday's mayoral election.
  • Politico Commits Random Act of Journalism on Porkulus Fraud

    11/02/2011 2:27:19 PM PDT · by Kaslin · 5 replies · 1+ views
    Rush Limbaugh.com ^ | November 2, 2011 | Rush Limbaugh
    BEGIN TRANSCRIPT RUSH: Holy cow, look at this, folks. A random act of journalism from The Politico. Is it my imagination or are more of these random acts of journalism by mainstream media firms beginning to happen? It seems like I've been pointing out more random acts of journalism lately the top. Get this. "The Energy Department's inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations related to 2009 [Porkulus] spending. In written testimony prepared for delivery to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said the investigations have involved 'various schemes, including the submission...
  • DOE IG: 100+ stimulus-related criminal probes

    11/02/2011 9:15:54 AM PDT · by Third Person · 5 replies
    Politico ^ | November 3, 2011 | Darius Dixon
    The Energy Department's inspector general has launched more than 100 criminal investigations related to 2009 economic stimulus spending. In written testimony prepared for delivery to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said the investigations have involved "various schemes, including the submission of false information, claims for unallowable or unauthorized expenses, and other improper uses of Recovery Act funds." So far, the investigations have led to five criminal prosecutions and brought in "over $2.3 million in monetary recoveries," Friedman said. "This includes a series of cases involving fictitious claims for travel per diem resulting in...
  • California bullet train triples in price, adds 13 years to deployment schedule

    11/01/2011 1:39:35 PM PDT · by SeekAndFind · 38 replies
    Hotair ^ | 11/01/2011 | Ed Morrissey
    When first proposed to taxpayers in 2008, the high-speed rail project in California that would eventually link Los Angeles and San Francisco had a projected cost of $33.6 billion and a delivery date of twelve years. By May of this year, after the Obama administration tossed in $3.5 billion in stimulus money to get the project started, the cost estimate ballooned to $43 billion, the most expensive public-works project in American history. But that now looks like a bargain in contrast to the latest estimate for the bullet train, as reported by the Mercury News: Faster than a speeding bullet...
  • Britain pulls the plug on solar subsidies

    11/01/2011 9:33:42 AM PDT · by jpl · 19 replies
    Watts Up With That ^ | Tuesday November 1, 2011 | Anthony Watts
    At Last: Britain Pulls Plug On Green Energy BoondoggleThe Government Giveth and the Government Taketh Away –-Famous green proverb Ministers have been accused of destroying 25,000 jobs and “bankrupting a whole industry”, after the Government unveiled plans to slash subsidies for green energy. Hundreds of solar companies are likely to go bust by Christmas after the Department for Energy and Climate Change confirmed it is looking to halve subsidies for new panels. –Rowena Mason, The Daily Telegraph, 1 November 2011 The row over solar subsidies is the latest manifestation of a long and fierce battle within the government between Chris...
  • Bullet train Project Nearly Triples In Cost (High Speed Rail To Nowhere)

    11/01/2011 8:39:12 AM PDT · by goldstategop · 42 replies
    Mercury News ^ | 10/31/2011 | Mike Rosenberg
    With the Golden State nearly broke, it now plans to secure funding largely by borrowing more, the Associated Press reported, though specifics were unclear. About 20 percent would come from the private sector. Until now, the state had been relying on more than $15 billion from the federal government, $10 billion from private investors and $5 billion from local governments. But the state hadn't gotten any closer to raising the money in the three years since voters approved the plan. The bullet train project, which would link San Francisco and Los Angeles with the nation's first high-speed rail line, has...
  • APNewsBreak: Calif. rail project to cost $98B

    10/31/2011 8:00:55 PM PDT · by Free ThinkerNY · 41 replies · 1+ views
    Associated Press ^ | Oct. 31, 2011 | JULIET WILLIAMS
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The new business plan for California's high-speed rail system shows the nation's most ambitious state rail project could cost nearly $100 billion in inflation-adjusted funding over a 20-year construction period but also would be profitable even at the lowest ridership estimates and would not require public operating subsidies, according to a draft copy of the plan shared late Monday with The Associated Press. The report estimates the actual cost at $98.5 billion if the route between San Francisco and Anaheim is completed in 2033.
  • The next Solyndra ?

    10/31/2011 1:51:47 PM PDT · by RobinMasters · 9 replies · 1+ views
    Hot Air ^ | OCTOBER 31, 2011 | Ed Morrissey
    Earlier today, we highlighted two bankruptcies involving taxpayer-backed loan guarantees for federal social engineering, and involving some bad judgment — or worse. One might wonder how many more of these taxpayer-backed loan recipients might go under in the coming weeks and months. CBS might have given us a sneak peek of the next Solyndra — or at least the next Beacon Power: A company whose subsidiary received $118 million in stimulus grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy to build new electric car batteries has now been removed from trading on NASDAQ. EnerDel got an Energy Department grant in...
  • Another Energy-backed firm folds

    10/31/2011 1:52:22 PM PDT · by ColdOne · 3 replies
    Politico44 ^ | 10/31/11 | MATT NEGRIN
    POLITICO Pro’s early-morning energy newsletter reports on the closing of another environmental company that was backed by the Energy Department, shortly after the White House announced that it would review the loan process that awarded money to Solyndra: This time, it’s Massachusetts-based energy storage firm Beacon Power Corp., which filed for bankruptcy this weekend despite receiving a federal $43 million loan guarantee in August of last year. In the filing, company CEO William Capp cited the current economic and political climate and DOE’s financing terms as reasons for Beacon’s failure, Bloomberg reports. KEY DIFFERENCE FROM SOLYNDRA: Taxpayers appear positioned to...
  • Financial turmoil grips two more ‘green energy’ companies receiving federal loan guarantees

    10/31/2011 10:55:40 AM PDT · by martosko · 12 replies
    The Daily Caller ^ | 10/31/2011 | Jim Davis
    Two “clean energy companies” which Barack Obama and Harry Reid have touted as creators of “green energy jobs” have joined Solyndra on the growing list of federal loan recipients facing financial turmoil and default. And a new poll indicates that voters don’t support the idea of agenda-driven federal loans to chosen corporations. Beacon Power Corp., a Massachusetts based energy storage company, filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, just one year after the company received a $43 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. And The New York Times reports that Nevada Geothermal Power, another recipient of millions in DOE loan...
  • Gingrich calls Obama student loan proposal a 'Ponzi scheme'

    10/28/2011 7:10:29 AM PDT · by Libloather · 6 replies · 1+ views
    The Hill ^ | 10/28/11 | Justin Sink
    Gingrich calls Obama student loan proposal a 'Ponzi scheme'By Justin Sink - 10/28/11 08:15 AM ET Newt Gingrich said that President Obama's recently announced student loan proposal was a "Ponzi scheme." Obama's plan would allow for easier consolidation of outstanding student loans, and would forgive outstanding balances on federal loans after 20 years of payments, rather than 25. Federal loan repayments would also be capped at 10 percent of a borrower's income, lowering payments, down from 15 percent now. The president would also begin implementing the changes next year, rather than 2014 as was currently planned. But Gingrich says that...
  • White House Student Loan Measures Will Barely Dent Soaring Costs [ Costs soar under Obama ]

    10/26/2011 1:02:22 PM PDT · by NoLibZone · 27 replies
    cnbc ^ | Oct 26 2011 | By: Scott Cohn
    [snip] Tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities jumped 8.3 percent nationwide for the 2011-2012 school year, the organization said. The numbers were skewed by California, which raised in-state tuition and fees by a whopping 21 percent this year. But even without California, costs rose seven percent, according to the College Board’s annual “Trends in College Pricing” report released on Wednesday. [snip] Private, non-profit colleges raised prices as well according to the report, but not nearly as much as their budget-strapped public counterparts. Tuition and fees rose 4.5 percent, which is still more than twice the core rate...
  • Five Ways the White House Is Changing Federally Backed Mortgages

    10/25/2011 10:39:03 AM PDT · by WOBBLY BOB · 9 replies
    national journal ^ | 10-24-11 | Julia Edwards
    President Obama’s message to spur the economy has changed from “pass this bill” to “we can’t wait.” And mortgage rates are the impatient administration’s first target. Rather than waiting for congressional action to improve the outlook for homeowners, the White House is making it easier to refinance loans backed by the Home Affordable Refinance Program. Though the executive branch can’t legally reach into the practices of private lenders, here is a look at a list of changes (and nudges) the administration plans to implement beginning on Nov. 15:
  • Energy Department Defends Loan to Company Building Electric Cars in Finland

    10/21/2011 10:23:35 AM PDT · by NoLibZone · 26 replies
    foxnews.com/ ^ | Oct 21,2011 | FNS
    The Department of Energy is standing by a $529 million loan guarantee to a company building an electric car line in Finland. A department official, in a lengthy response posted on a government blog Thursday night, confirmed that the company Fisker is assembling its Karma electric car at its "overseas facility." The response comes after ABC News reported that the Obama administration gave the green light for the company to move the manufacturing to Finland two years after announcing the loan. The ABC News report noted the political connections enjoyed by Fisker and another company, Tesla Motors, which together received...