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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...