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Saturday, December 17, 2011

California Spending $99 Billion High Speed Rail And It Won’t Be Operational For At Least Ten Years, Minimum!

California Spending $99 Billion High Speed Rail And It Won’t Be Operational For At Least Ten Years, Minimum!

How Can A State So Close To Financial Ruin Be Allowed To Pursue Such Irresponsible Spending?

By Dell Hill

If the price of that new sports car you’ve been eyeing suddenly jumped from 33 thousand to 99 thousand dollars, you’d probably jump back in shock.  Just change the word “car” to “train” and the word “thousand” to “billion” and you’re looking at California’s latest effort to break the backs of every taxpayer in the State.

Ed Morrissey has this to say:
“The projected cost of the California high-speed rail project has tripled from the $33 billion estimate the state used to get voter approval for the necessary bonds — borrowing, in other words — in 2008, just three short years ago.  The state hasn’t even broken ground on the project, and even its former supporters are questioning the wisdom of putting a state that’s already sinking in red ink on the hook for a boondoggle that will require them to borrow almost all of the $99 billion cost and not have any service to show for it for more than a decade.

Don’t expect the Obama administration to show that kind of critical thinking, however:

The Obama administration vowed Thursday at a House committee meeting in Washington that it would not back down from its support of California’s bullet train project despite attacks from critics who alleged it is tainted by political corruption.

“We are not going to flinch on that support,” said Joseph Szabo, chief of the Federal Railroad Administration.

Szabo said that his agency had committed itself to provide $3.3 billion for a construction start next year in the Central Valley and that federal law prohibits any change of mind about where to begin building the first segment of the state’s high-speed rail system.

“The worst thing we could do is make obligations to folks and start to renege on our word,” Szabo told the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Er, no.  The worst thing they could do is to waste taxpayer money on a boondoggle that, at least at this point, actually has no realistic final price.  The new estimate includes a risk of a 20% increase from the new $99 billion estimate based on “route options,” and that’s before any work has even been started.  Once ground breaks, the project will undoubtedly face unexpected setbacks and need for new cash infusions, a pattern seen on every public works project in memory.”

Dell’s Bottom Line:  California is so boned.  That’s all there is to it, folks.  And there doesn’t seem to be a single thing anyone can do about the on-going total stupidity that emanates from Sacramento.

Why the taxpayers allow this kind of foolish venture to even begin is beyond any form of rational thinking.  Where is the evidence that such a boondoggle would somehow be a benefit to the people?  How in the world does California plan to subsidize a train system for many years (perhaps forever) as it competes with other modes of transportation and fails to even be equal - say nothing about better - service than what’s already in place?

One look at the Amtrak rail system should be enough to convince anyone with half a brain that 1) You don’t need it, and 2) you can’t possibly afford it.  American taxpayers have subsidized Amtrak rail service every year it’s been in operation.

And then, as Ed points out, “..don’t forget that this fixed-track system, which for passenger service is a relic of the 19th century, will necessarily sit astride and parallel one of the largest fault lines in the US — the San Andreas fault, where most people believe California’s next big earthquake will originate.

The worst thing that the federal government can do is to be a poor steward of public capital, and that’s exactly the choice that the Obama administration and Jerry Brown are making by continuing this embarrassment of a boondoggle.”

“California, Here I Come!”?  

Businesses and individuals are leaving California in droves, and I don’t blame them.

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