California panel declares high-speed rail project “not financially feasible”

posted at 2:40 pm on January 4, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

When the California legislature undertook the most expensive public-works project in American history, they also created an independent review board to ensure that the LA-to-San Francisco high-speed rail project would have solid financial footing.  Perhaps they intended this panel to be a public-relations rubber stamp, but if so, it just proves that their miscalculations weren’t limited to cost projections.  Yesterday, the California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group sent a “scathing” letter to the political leadership in Sacramento, calling the project’s finances and costs “fundamentally flaw[ed]” (via Andrew Malcolm):

In a scathing critique that could further jeopardize political support for California’s proposed $98.5-billion bullet train, a key independent review panel is recommending that state officials postpone borrowing billions of dollars to start building the first section of track this year.

Gov. Jerry Brown has said he will ask the Legislature in the coming months to issue the first batch of $9 billion in voter-approved bonds for a high-speed rail network that backers say will create jobs, help the environment and transform the state’s economy.

But in a report Tuesday, a panel of experts created by state law to help safeguard the public’s interest raised serious doubts about almost every aspect of the project and concluded that the current plan “is not financially feasible.” As a result, the panel said, it “cannot at this time recommend that the Legislature approve the appropriation of bond proceeds for this project.”

So who sat on this expert panel?  Amazingly, some actual experts:

The panel includes private-sector financial experts, a University of California dean of engineering, a former Caltrans director and a local government representative. Their warnings are likely to weigh heavily on lawmakers as they consider the project in coming months, said Sen. Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), a longtime supporter of high-speed rail who has grown increasingly concerned about the project. Simitian has raised the possibility of putting the entire project on hold for a year to reevaluate the current plan.

“We can’t simply dismiss the legitimate concerns by a group of this caliber,” Simitian said. “Denial is not going to move the project forward.”

The chair of the Rail Authority claims that the report is both misleading and “deeply flawed”:

Tom Umberg, chairman of the authority board, said in a letter to lawmakers that the report is “deeply flawed, in some areas misleading and its conclusions are unfounded.” He appealed to lawmakers to look beyond it as they reconvene for the year on Wednesday. “As the report presents a narrow, inaccurate and superficial assessment of the HSR program,” Umberg wrote, “it does a disservice to policy-makers who must confront these decisions.”

Of course, this comes from the same Rail Authority that initially predicted that the project would cost $33 billion, only to admit three years later that projected costs had nearly tripled to $98.5 billion … before ground had even been broken on the project.  Something tells me that between the Rail Authority and the CHSRPRG, the latter will have more credibility than the former with legislators who have to explain borrowing for a project when California can’t pay its bills now.

Will the panel’s report change the mind of Governor Jerry Brown?  Of course not:

Brown spokesman Gil Duran said in an e-mail that the Peer Review Group’s report “does not appear to add any arguments that are new or compelling enough to suggest a change in course.”

Hey, if Brown thinks that a project whose costs have tripled from their earlier estimates — the estimates on which voters relied when approving the project in 2008 — presents no fiscal problems, then why should he worry when the state-mandated review board tells him that the project can’t work?  Sounds like California’s political class has learned nothing from their financial travails of the last several years.  Voters, on the other hand, might have other ideas of fiscal sanity — and perhaps start cleaning house in the legislature in the fall before the legislature cleans them out financially for good.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Moonbeam: This project will clearly interfere with CalPERS pension distributions…., er the children….

MTLassen on January 4, 2012 at 2:42 PM

They don’t call him Governor Moonbeam for nothing you know… And yes, I do live in California and Governor Moonbeam is one of the nicest kindest things he gets called here.

SWalker on January 4, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Gee, lookit all that money they can give away somewhere else.

Kissmygrits on January 4, 2012 at 2:46 PM

Go for it, Californios. Nothing beats a failure like a try. Have at it, with our blessing.

Akzed on January 4, 2012 at 2:47 PM

Alternate headline…

First signs of intelligence emerge in California

bobsacramento on January 4, 2012 at 2:48 PM

California panel declares high-speed rail project “not financially feasible”

“We’ll take three, then. Economies of scale … Competition … Why do you hate competition?!? We have to do this. It’s a JOBS bill! A three letter word, JOBS, bill!” — Any and Every Libtard

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 4, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Just because they prove that there is no way in H E double-toothpicks that we will ever be able to afford to pay for it, don’t get the idea that there have been

any arguments that are new or compelling enough to suggest a change in course.

Oh, my, no. Since when is We Have No Money ever a compelling or even, as it were, new argument?

Lily on January 4, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Hey, if Brown thinks that a project whose costs have tripled from their earlier estimates — the estimates on which voters relied when approving the project in 2008 — presents no fiscal problems, then why should he worry when the state-mandated review board tells him that the project can’t work? Sounds like California’s political class has learned nothing from their financial travails of the last several years

You’re making the silly assumption that “no fiscal problems” means the state can afford it and the benefits to the State will equal or outweigh the cost. What “no fiscal problems” means to Brown and the CA legislature is that they can still see a way to funnel billions of dollars to their cronies whether we actually have those dollars or not.

Tom Umberg, chairman of the authority kickback board, said in a letter to lawmakers that the report is “deeply flawed, in some areas misleading and its conclusions are unfounded.”

Self explanatory. He often claims that “business leaders” are in favor of the project to make it sound less left-whack-o partisan. What he means when he says that are “leaders of businesses that stand to gain billions of dollars in construction contracts” from the project.

peski on January 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Voters, on the other hand, might have other ideas of fiscal sanity — and perhaps start cleaning house in the legislature in the fall before the legislature cleans them out financially for good.

You’re kidding, right ?

burrata on January 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

who the hell would loan Cali even one red penny? oh thats right, the feds…

burserker on January 4, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Doubling down on stupid

Wake up CA

cmsinaz on January 4, 2012 at 2:51 PM

I think this headline would act more as a selling point to the government of California. This seals the deal. They’re gonna do it.

NukeRidingCowboy on January 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Voters, on the other hand, might have other ideas of fiscal sanity — and perhaps start cleaning house in the legislature in the fall before the legislature cleans them out financially for good.
You’re kidding, right ?

burrata on January 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Bah, ya’ beat me… Though I was gonna suggest Ed forgot his /sarc tag.

LtGenRob on January 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

Thank you Scott Walker!!!!

PackerBronco on January 4, 2012 at 2:52 PM

It’s like watching a slow motion train wreck…

… Oh, wait!

/

Seven Percent Solution on January 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Dear leader with the fed checkbook ready to go

cmsinaz on January 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM

California…LOTB

WashJeff on January 4, 2012 at 2:53 PM

“$33B… $98B… or $980B…. We get Californian out of their gasoline-fueled vehicals, and adhering to the train schedule WE dictate, no matter what the costs.”

– Jerry Brown’s inner monologue

VastRightWingConspirator on January 4, 2012 at 2:54 PM

You’re kidding, right ?

burrata on January 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Yeah, Ed is usually a little more grounded than that. Based on the new redistricting, I expect a Democrat super-majority very soon. As gutless as the CA R party is, imagine the potential results of just one legislative session without even those feeble brakes on the lawmakers.

peski on January 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Voters, on the other hand, might have other ideas of fiscal sanity — and perhaps start cleaning house in the legislature in the fall before the legislature cleans them out financially for good.

This has to be the single funniest thing Ed has ever written.

Mark1971 on January 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

It’s more of a Shelbyville thing anyway.

BL@KBIRD on January 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

…another reason to celebrate the occasion of my still recent move out of California.

davisbr on January 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Whoa, there are lucid, sane, clear-thinking people in Califlounder after all. And yet, still saddled with pols who think that opposition to the $98.5 billion price tag for the rail line to nowheresville is “misleading and deeply flawed”–yeah, like the mind of the individual who said that.

stukinIL4now on January 4, 2012 at 2:57 PM

It’s more of a Shelbyville thing anyway.

BL@KBIRD on January 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

I haven’t watched The Simpsons in years, but love the reference.

troyriser_gopftw on January 4, 2012 at 2:59 PM

Brown is insane…period…unfortunately I live in this state, and I can say that voters here are every bit as insane as Brown is, so they deserve each other…there is no hope, double down on stupid is the norm here…

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM

“Denial is not going to move the project forward.”

No, that is exactly what is going to move the project forward.

pedestrian on January 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The GOP nominees for president need to highlight this report as an example of the Left’s economic ignorance. The point needs to be made that BILLIONS of federal tax dollars (borrowed or otherwise) are being thrown at these types of projects.

This is low-hanging fruit, folks. Our nominees need to make the case against these outrageous boondoggles…

Common Sense Floridian on January 4, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The rail project will be the last nail in their fiscal coffin. Just do it.

Ward Cleaver on January 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

This has to be the single funniest thing Ed has ever written.

Mark1971 on January 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

There honestly is only one way to describe California voters… Unpredictable. Just when you are certain that they have all decided to go bungy jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge without a bungy-cord, they decide to go for coffee at Starbucks.

SWalker on January 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

In Houston we dropped $300 million for a 7 mile train that wiped out Main St. For only $43k/mile we were able to destroy businesses, roads, traffic efficiency and civic sanity.

This toy at $98.5 billion comes in at a whopping $258 million/mile. That my friends is Obama-esque in its scope!

DanMan on January 4, 2012 at 3:03 PM

It’s more of a Shelbyville thing anyway.

BL@KBIRD on January 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

D’OH!

Now we have to see what happens to the Monorail system the Democrats want to build in Honolulu…

Del Dolemonte on January 4, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Not financially viable? Total bunk.

First of all, we can’t NOT afford to do this. It’s an investment, after all. Are these people saying we shouldn’t invest in our own country?

Secondly, all we need to do is raise the state income tax on Californians earning above some arbitrary level, to another arbitrary level. Besides simply being fair, why should they not have to pay for improvements to the economy and environment? Why should the middle class have to bear the brunt of this?

Thirdly, this panel is probably being bought off by the Koch brothers.

And finally, fast trains are really cool. Downtwinkles on this panel.

BKeyser on January 4, 2012 at 3:04 PM

You’re kidding, right ?

burrata on January 4, 2012 at 2:49 PM

it is a bit of an outlandish remark for Ed…voters in Ca will vote the D legislators out :-)…California wouldn’t be California if this actually happened…

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Politics is making me crazy. The news is making me crazy. How do you ignore crap like this? I don’t live there, it’s none of my business, who am I to judge what’s best for California?

My neighbors are drunken spendthrifts with loud fights, and the cops are over there every Saturday night, what do I care?

Skandia Recluse on January 4, 2012 at 3:08 PM

And will all those jobs be state unionized workers with big pay and bigger retirement bennies? There is no way California survives financially until it is flat broke, bankrupt, and without a federal bailout (which would only delay the first two a bit longer).

cartooner on January 4, 2012 at 3:09 PM

It’s Jerry Brown(eye). The man will double down on stupid. Don’t be the frog and expect the scorpion to change ways even if it kills him.

jukin3 on January 4, 2012 at 3:09 PM

peski on January 4, 2012 at 2:55 PM

Not only that, CA will be voting for new tax increases in Nov.
I wonder if this has been seen by people outside of
VanJones-laraza mailing list :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XI0xZI455ZI

burrata on January 4, 2012 at 3:09 PM

High-Speed Rail is sacred.

Full steam ahead.

/

mankai on January 4, 2012 at 3:10 PM

100B bullet train. yeah, that shows the deep moronicity of this country.

stupidity squared.

we’ll have rolling brown outs soon enough with these leftists in charges..and a gleaming 100b bullet train. the chi-coms must be impressed

r keller on January 4, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Of course Brown will ignore the panel. Liberals govern on intentions (or fantasy), not results.

johnnybravo on January 4, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Obama, eyes wide: “Choo-choo!”

ElectricPhase on January 4, 2012 at 3:14 PM

Skandia Recluse on January 4, 2012 at 3:08 PM

Because some how you will end up paying for it.

tinkerthinker on January 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Hope versus Reality?

Hope = Expectation

Even if it fails, as many expect, the proponents would likely not be particularly affected by that. The taxpayers of California would be but it will be a fait accompli by then.

Russ808 on January 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM

So where is the post on the 8-year-olds who wrote a pro-Occupy song, complete with their in-depth understanding of economic bubbles? I would have thought that obligatory on Hot Gas.

John the Libertarian on January 4, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Not only that, CA will be voting for new tax increases in Nov.

burrata on January 4, 2012 at 3:09 PM

that is not necessarily so…Californians are known for clamoring preaching how wonderful it is to ‘do our patriotic duty’ and pay more taxes, blah, blah, blah, but then voting against tax increases when they put it on the ballot…it’s a incomprehensible bunch, really….been living here for a while and I work for a policy institute that does a lot of surveys, it is amazing how the surveys show one thing, then they go to the polls and they vote the opposite way…they will never vote the Dems out of power and give the Reps a chance, but neither they will necessarily vote for tax increases and give the Dems real pwoer…it’s an inherent contradiction that Californians for some reasons learned to live with and perpetuate ad nauseam…

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:19 PM

“Drivin’ that train, high on cocaine, Casey Jones you’d better watch your speed . . .”
Full throttle, Gov. Moonbeam.

tpitman on January 4, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Boston’s Big Dig project ballooned from $2.6 Billion to $14.6 Billion so it is not out of line to think this $100 Billion boondogle to balloon to over a TRILLION dollars if they push it through.

I mean, come on, what’s a TRILLION DOLLARS these days? Barry goes hat in hand to our inept and corrupt congrASS and get more than that every few months it seems.

Robert Jensen on January 4, 2012 at 3:20 PM

Unexpectedly!…

KOOLAID2 on January 4, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I live in Florida, and just sent my governor another email thanking him for keeping us out of high speed rail. Governor Scott took a lot of flack instate when he refused federal money to start a high speed rail between Orlando and Tampa. He has been proved right by this article. LA to San Francisco would have a lot more riders than Orlando to Tampa — and they are still running into money problems even before ridership. So very very glad Rick Scott listened to real concerns about long term finance not just one or two years of federal money.

talking_mouse on January 4, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Obama, eyes wide: “Choo-choo!”

ElectricPhase on January 4, 2012 at 3:14 PM

lol :-) he will finally check an ‘accomplishment’ in 4 years in office :-) (hopefully not longer than that)…’Chinese-type project’ :-)

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:23 PM

We’ll just have to get some new “experts”.

Ones with vested financial interest in making sure this handbasket to hell gets approved.

They will tell us the truth.

NoDonkey on January 4, 2012 at 3:24 PM

The liberal allegiance in the face of stark fiscal realities is simply unexplainable. However, I have no sympathy for the CA electorate. They voted these bums in and continue to vote for them. The people of California have no one to blame but themselves. Does anyone seriously doubt that a bailout request won’t be forthcoming?

Thurston Howell III on January 4, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Umberg wrote, “it does a disservice to policy-makers who must confront these decisions

Hey Umberg! I don’t care if our “policy-makers” have to confront these decisions….it’s their job!

How about the disservice to the taxpayers? Who must confront the costs of the decisions?

This monumental waste of money really rashes my behind…..especially when my daughter’s high school sports team can’t pay their coach so they might not field a team this year (we already pay for equipment and uniforms)

Ditkaca on January 4, 2012 at 3:25 PM

I live in Florida, and just sent my governor another email thanking him for keeping us out of high speed rail. Governor Scott took a lot of flack instate when he refused federal money to start a high speed rail between Orlando and Tampa. He has been proved right by this article. LA to San Francisco would have a lot more riders than Orlando to Tampa — and they are still running into money problems even before ridership. So very very glad Rick Scott listened to real concerns about long term finance not just one or two years of federal money.

talking_mouse on January 4, 2012 at 3:21 PM

I doubt it that LA to San Fr will be a ‘popular’ route for said train project…I flew that way many times, a plane ticket from San Fr to LA is under 100 USD, they will never be able to match that on the speed rail, without heavy subsidies from the state of course…so I really doubt it that it would be any more ‘successful’ or trafficked than Orlando-Tampa…

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:27 PM

The liberal allegiance in the face of stark fiscal realities is simply unexplainable.
Thurston Howell III on January 4, 2012 at 3:24 PM

same problem here…and it hurts to say, since I live here…it simply defies any logical analysis….

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:28 PM

The rail project will be the last nail in their fiscal coffin. Just do it.

Ward Cleaver on January 4, 2012 at 3:02 PM

And you, Ward, will bail our state out. Count on it. Just as Americans through the Federal Reserve are right now bailing out European banks (by means of tricky accounting techniques).

We will not go down without taking you with us.

Burke on January 4, 2012 at 3:31 PM

The project has won major support from organized labor, some big-city mayors and many state lawmakers.

i.e. Democrats, Democrats and Democrats

“The fact that the funding plan fails to identify any long-term funding commitments is a fundamental flaw in the program,” the panel said. “We cannot overemphasize the fact that moving ahead on the high-speed rail project without credible sources of adequate funding … represents an immense financial risk on the part of the state of California.”

i.e. Democrats

Committed supporters dismissed the idea that the report would derail the project. Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani (D-Tracy) who wrote the 2008 ballot measure for high-speed rail, said she supports building the first phase in the Central Valley because much of the environmental review has been done, billions in federal funding have been authorized and jobs can be created quickly.

i.e. Democrat

Labor unions and big engineering firms — the two groups that largely funded the political campaign for the bond measure in 2008 — and the Obama administration are lobbying Brown and the Legislature to stay the course.

i.e. Democrats, Democrats and Democrats

mankai on January 4, 2012 at 3:31 PM

…another reason to celebrate the occasion of my still recent move out of California.

davisbr on January 4, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Me too. It’s much easier to watch this from a distance.

trigon on January 4, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Just remember: Trying is the first step toward failure.

John Deaux on January 4, 2012 at 3:33 PM

Brown and his crew are not going to let this much money get away from them stealing it.

docflash on January 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

No committee on earth can stop this project with any sort of a report.

It’ll take an endangered critter, bug or plant.

trigon on January 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

Doubling down on stupid

Wake up CA

cmsinaz on January 4, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Que? No hablamos ingles.

NapaConservative on January 4, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Voters, on the other hand, might have other ideas of fiscal sanity — and perhaps start cleaning house in the legislature in the fall before the legislature cleans them out financially for good.

Never gonna happen. Not in California. That’s why I left.

I attended some meetings of the Young Republicans in California … and the last one I went to had a Republican assemblywoman saying “We can’t cut any more and we can’t print money, so we have to raise taxes.”

… Seriously. The Republicans there have just given up.

apollyonbob on January 4, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Ed, I commend you for your attention to this issue. One little point though: the preposterous cost, awful as it is, is only the second biggest reason to oppose these type of train proposals. The bigger reason? It wouldn’t matter if high speed trains were the most efficient government program ever devised. It wouldn’t matter if trains were a hundred times more efficient than planes. The plain truth is, the physical plant cannot handle a reasonable number of train travelers no matter how it is built or funded.

Look at it this way. Here in Atlanta, we have the busiest airport in terms of passengers carried in the world. There are hundreds of flights daily. And we’ve got the old Amtrak station that has two trains a day–the Crescent line as it heads up towards New York and as it goes west to New Orleans. There are two tracks, there is one station, so no matter how you slice it there could never be enough trains to meet the demands the airlines now meet. It’s 2012, not 1890; we cannot get the vast numbers of people who travel intercity every day where they are going by a type of transportation that is totally dependant on where the tracks are laid.

radjah shelduck on January 4, 2012 at 3:36 PM

Of course Gov Moonbeam is continuing the project. He hasn’t finished paying off those who got him into office. (duh!)

kimbergrl on January 4, 2012 at 3:37 PM

No doubt that the Chinese will design it, build it and provide all of the raw materials for it….and we’ll borrow the money from the Chinese to finance it….

PatriotRider on January 4, 2012 at 3:37 PM

I live in Florida, and just sent my governor another email thanking him for keeping us out of high speed rail. Governor Scott took a lot of flack instate when he refused federal money to start a high speed rail between Orlando and Tampa. He has been proved right by this article. LA to San Francisco would have a lot more riders than Orlando to Tampa — and they are still running into money problems even before ridership. So very very glad Rick Scott listened to real concerns about long term finance not just one or two years of federal money.

talking_mouse on January 4, 2012 at 3:21 PM

Beat me to it…I was trying to ‘splain to a fellow Floriduhian why Gov Scott taking the Ban Hammer to the fed money and the H$R boondoggle was a really good thing, and she was like “but Califiorniyay is doing it!” Florida was slated to get about $6 Billion to build it, but we’ve seen how good agents of the gubmint are at projected project costs. She didn’t understand that the Florida taxpayers would be left holding the bill for a multi-billion dollar union payoff disguised as a green project for the people.

Besides, no one would take a train from Tampa to/from Orlando when you can easily drive it in an hour, and you’d need a car once you got to either city.

ornery_independent on January 4, 2012 at 3:38 PM

California panel declares high-speed rail project “not financially feasible”

…which is make the lunatic-left d-cRAT socialists that control this cesspool of a state re-double their efforts to get it built. Onward, down the lunatic-left “Road to Hell”!

TeaPartyNation on January 4, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Yes, the committee is completely ignoring the demand of so many Californians to drive to a train station, pay to park their car, take a train on a defined schedule (which may or may not run on schedule) to a finite number of possible destinations, where the riders will have to rent a car to get around. Golly, at least one or two people a week would want to do this. The nerve of the committee saying the taxpayer should not subsidize the tickets to the tune of several billion dollars each. It’s not like there would be ongoing costs, like salaries or energy or maintenance, is it?

There’s a reason there are only 2 high speed lines in the world that break even. This would not be the third. This would be a permanent additional drain on California’s budget.

talkingpoints on January 4, 2012 at 3:41 PM

The essential economic lesson Democrats – and many Republicans – refuse to learn is that you cannot create demand. Demand creates itself.

In California, the land of flakes, fruits, and nuts, they seem to have this “Field of Dreams” attitude that if they build it, the money will come. Somehow, from somewhere, from somebody. Because the market just doesn’t know how much it wants this thing yet.

Besides that ritual insanity, there is a basic denial present in the California Assembly and the Democratic Party. These fiscal problems of the last decade or so aren’t just going away, and they cannot pay themselves off. Sooner or later the credit card bill must be paid.

But try to tell that to a left-coaster, you may as well be preaching moderation in Vegas.

Adjoran on January 4, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Me too. It’s much easier to watch this from a distance.

trigon on January 4, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I miss the rest of the family (including the in-laws, oddly enough), but that wasn’t reason enough to stay and unwillingly continue to participate in economic hari-kiri with the increasingly dysfunctional majority electorate of the state.

It’s become pretty obvious that even a best-case fiscal sanity scenario is going to take 20 years plus for the state to pull out of the mess it’s in …and I ain’t got 20 years of job productivity left.

As it turns out though, non-California weather (i.e., cold & snow), is kind of nice after all (I’d never lived anywhere but California, so I was a bit apprehensive about snow). My first white Christmas ever, whoo-hoo.

davisbr on January 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM

No, we need a highspeed train to Lost Wages (LV).

jake49 on January 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM

No duh. They needed an expert panel to tell them that? WTF? It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3:

1) They have no ridership estimates, no cost-benefit analysis and no exit strategy for ending subsidies;
2) The current cost estimates are over 120% higher than the original estimate and the current completion date is 10 years greater than the original estimate; and
3) They are unable to estimate what the final costs will be.

What else do they need to know? But, stupid is as stupid does so the Dems will press on undeterred.

rcpjr on January 4, 2012 at 3:46 PM

No doubt that the Chinese will design it, build it and provide all of the raw materials for it….and we’ll borrow the money from the Chinese to finance it….

PatriotRider on January 4, 2012 at 3:37 PM

That is old hat for the geniuses here in CA,

NapaConservative on January 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM

The liberal allegiance in the face of stark fiscal realities is simply unexplainable. However, I have no sympathy for the CA electorate. They voted these bums in and continue to vote for them. The people of California have no one to blame but themselves. Does anyone seriously doubt that a bailout request won’t be forthcoming?

Thurston Howell III on January 4, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Easy to say Thurston. But there are still conservatives in many areas of California that are trying to make changes and most definately are not to blame. I don’t want or need your sympathy but this is a problem that many areas of the U.S. are experiencing.

I always hear the complaint about illegals…that they should stay in their country and try to make changes before running away to the U.S. Same goes for California. We shouldn’t run off and leave this beautiful state to the unions and illegals. This is still the United States the last time I checked…we need to act like it.

Ditkaca on January 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM

“Hey, if Brown thinks that a project whose costs have tripled from their earlier estimates — the estimates on which voters relied when approving the project in 2008 — presents no fiscal problems, then why should he worry when the state-mandated review board tells him that the project can’t work?”

I haven’t read the report but I can pretty much guarantee that that current $98.5B estimate is, at best, only half of what it really would be.

Dusty on January 4, 2012 at 3:48 PM

It’ll take an endangered critter, bug or plant.

trigon on January 4, 2012 at 3:34 PM

where’s dear old Nan when you need her :-)…she did campaigned for and caused the water shut down to CA Central Valley because of that darn Delta smelt fish, you’d think that maybe if they garner her support, she might come up with a similar endangered species…oh, wait a sec, the speed rail is a Dem project, no more endangered species in Ca :-)…

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Brown spokesman Gil Duran said in an e-mail that the Peer Review Group’s report “does not appear to add any arguments that are new or compelling enough to suggest a change in course.”

The cost estimates have tripled and there’s no money to pay for it, but nothing suggests changing course?

“It’s just a little ice. Full speed ahead!” – Captain, Titanic

RadClown on January 4, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Maybe a further credit downgrade from Moddy’s or Standard & Poor might wake Gov. Moonbeam up – doubtful though. There’s no way in h!ll I’d vote for a bailout of CA if they decide to invest in this boondoggle. I wouldn’t vote for a bail now, but this would cinch it.

Bob in VA on January 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM

Let’s try again.

sfpublicpress.org/news/2009-12/unparalleled-bridge-unprecedented-cost

We’ve gone down this road before

NapaConservative on January 4, 2012 at 3:51 PM

OK, how do you add working link?

NapaConservative on January 4, 2012 at 3:51 PM

We shouldn’t run off and leave this beautiful state to the unions and illegals. This is still the United States the last time I checked…we need to act like it.

Ditkaca on January 4, 2012 at 3:47 PM

true, but how disheartening it is (and dis-empowering in many ways) to see that your vote never counts :-(….

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:51 PM

In California, the land of flakes, fruits, and nuts, they seem to have this “Field of Dreams” attitude that if they build it, the money will come. Somehow, from somewhere, from somebody. Because the market just doesn’t know how much it wants this thing yet.

Adjoran on January 4, 2012 at 3:44 PM

I was thinking of the exact same movie analogy :-)…

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:55 PM

There’s no way in h!ll I’d vote for a bailout of CA if they decide to invest in this boondoggle. I wouldn’t vote for a bail now, but this would cinch it.

Bob in VA on January 4, 2012 at 3:50 PM

not to worry, O will bail CA out during a legislative recess :-)…

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Everyone was taken out of context. Proceed.

samharker on January 4, 2012 at 3:56 PM

And they wonder why Californians are racing each other to get out of the state. Now if they’d just leave their crazy leftist views in CA when they left!

jnelchef on January 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM

California isn’t all ignorant, self centered, and idealish, but the democrats have a clear lock on most of the populous/urban areas of the state, including Los Angeles and San Francisco and the population there outvotes everyone else.

So, those of us in San Diego, Orange, Riverside, and San Bernardino counties are just along for the ride and have to deal with ever crazier regulations coming from Sacramento every year… we mostly get by, but we have to be ever vigilant especially with regard to schools/education.

It’s sad when one has to say that one lives in an essentially bankrupt city (pension crisis) in almost bankrupt state (california) in an essentially bankrupt country (usa)….

deploylinux on January 4, 2012 at 3:59 PM

ridin’ that train….high on cocaine…casey brown you bettter…watch your speed!

DrW on January 4, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Voters, on the other hand, might have other ideas of fiscal sanity — and perhaps start cleaning house in the legislature in the fall before the legislature cleans them out financially for good.

BWAHAHAHAHA. Good one, Ed. Or perhaps you were thinking about some other California??

SukieTawdry on January 4, 2012 at 4:06 PM

And let’s not get too attached to the $98 billion price tag. Safe to assume this is still not even close.

If you know CA you know that even contemplating a dig of more than 100 yards would take 10 years to get approved. The ground here is sacred to all who care (aka money grubbing enviro-wackos).

sdbatboy on January 4, 2012 at 4:07 PM

I would like to see California do this so they can go bankrupt quicker and we can all sit back and laugh at the liberals causing their state to go bankrupt. Next stop on the bankruptcy express is Illinois, the NY, RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR……

jrfromdallas on January 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Of course we have to build it – how else can we be competitive with China? [Thank you President Obama for that lucid insight into evaluating the economics of green projects.]

Phase II should be an extension to hook up with Obama’s touted Intercontinental Railway.

in_awe on January 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM

Intercontinental Railway.

in_awe on January 4, 2012 at 4:12 PM

yeah, he ‘d get faster to Asia (and by that I mean Hawaii:-), you know :-)

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 4:16 PM

jimver on January 4, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Those who do such surveys do not survey illegals and illegal voters in CA, who are the actual entities that will decide elections in CA now that Brown+Nuisance+Harris team is in S’cto.
That is the class of ” voters” that will vote by every means possible and multiple times and at multiple locations to raise taxes on the thieves a k a filthy rich in CA because believe it or not, democrat base and illegals are the only ones who have been told the real benefits of raising taxes and also this high-speed rail from SF to LA.
This rail system will not only make democrats and contractors rich,it will be the most efficient system for :
1. transporting illegals
2. transporting drugs
3. collect benefits from multiple addresses
4. GTHO after commiting crimes
Please don’t ask me how I know this.

burrata on January 4, 2012 at 4:16 PM

The board says “not financially feasable” and the response is “does not appear to add any arguments that are new or compelling enough to suggest a change in course.” ?!

The magnitude of the stupidity is pretty amazing. No doubt California will seek to have the rest of them bail them out so they can keep pulling this kind of garbage.

John_G on January 4, 2012 at 4:21 PM

Doubling Tripling down on stupid

Wake up CA

cmsinaz on January 4, 2012 at 2:51 PM

FIFY.

Steve Z on January 4, 2012 at 4:25 PM

But Obama loves the idea as much as he does green “investments.” This is Solyndra writ large.

flataffect on January 4, 2012 at 4:27 PM

Brown’s new law authorizing $4M for a study of the San Diego to LA corridor took affect January 1st. When queried on it, Brown said that he would be spending the money. The reason they aren’t tapping into the $9B in bonds California voters approved in 2008 is because this same Peer Review Group which found the business plan to be unsustainable must sign off on the bonds before they can be issued.

The pressure from liberals on them will be intense, to say the least.

unclesmrgol on January 4, 2012 at 4:29 PM

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