CA poll: High-speed rail should be … derailed

posted at 12:00 pm on January 14, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Governor Jerry Brown has insisted that he will go forward on the plan to sell billions of dollars of bonds to start the high-speed rail project that would eventually join San Francisco and Los Angeles, despite the fact that the estimated costs have tripled to $100 billion since voters first approved the project in 2008 — and that’s before ground even gets broken.  Californians will try to put a referendum on the ballot blocking the sale of bonds in the already debt-strapped Golden State.  How would such a measure fare?  According to a new Survey USA poll, it would derail Brown’s folly.

In a survey of 500 adults taken on Thursday, 53% say they want the sale of bonds stopped, and 51% believe the project will never be built at all.  Only 33% want it to move ahead, a very low figure especially for California, and especially for the sampling type of this survey.  General-population surveys, as opposed to registered or likely voter polls, tend to produce outcomes more favorable to liberal policies.

Of course, it’s hard to determine by the internal demos just what would be the liberal position if one goes just by the party affiliation demos.  It comes as no surprise that Republicans want the bond sales stopped by a margin of 71/19, but a plurality of Democrats also want a halt to the project, 46/41, as well as a plurality of independents at 48/39.  In fact, the only demographic that still wants the bond sales to take place is self-described liberals, 33/62.  Moderates are opposed 2-1 to the bond sales, 54/27.

Regionally, it’s a clean sweep.  Two of the three areas most impacted by the project, Central California and Greater LA, have solid majorities in opposition to bond sales (52/37 and 58/31, respectively).  The Bay Area’s respondents are in a statistical dead head, with opposition having a one-point edge, 43/42.  Every age demo has a majority opposed to the bond sales, and every ethnic demo has a majority or plurality opposed to it.

It probably doesn’t help that the route changed yet again this week to make the proposed route even longer and more circuitous (via Andrew Malcolm):

Planners of California’s high-speed rail project want to discard a more direct route from Los Angeles to Bakersfield over the Grapevine and continue development of a sweeping dogleg through Palmdale and Lancaster.

Though the option was ruled out in 2005, the Interstate 5-Grapevine corridor was revived for further study last May after state officials and some transportation experts thought it would save billions in construction costs and up to 12 minutes of travel time between Los Angeles and the train’s ultimate destination: the Bay Area.

But a new study by the California High Speed Rail Authority now indicates that the longer, more tunnel-heavy route that turns east from the Central Valley through the Tehachapi Mountains to the Antelope Valley is the better option.

Though the Grapevine route would be slightly less expensive, researchers said the $15-billion-plus Palmdale alignment would serve one of the fastest-growing areas in Los Angeles County, have fewer environmental effects and allow planners more flexibility in route selection through the mountains.

Yes, I’m just certain that the best way to fix a public works high-speed rail project that has ballooned in costs is to make decisions that add to the cost and make it less direct.  Here’s a better, less expensive way to serve one of the “fastest-growing areas in Los Angeles County”: build an airport.  Let’s say it would cost a billion dollars for a decent regional airport.  That would be 1/100th the cost of the high-speed rail system proposed (at least in the current estimate) and it would allow more than one operator to compete for the demand to take passengers from the Antelope Valley to San Francisco … and San Diego, and Sacramento, and Phoenix, and Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas, and any number of other destinations.  Since airplanes don’t have to rely on fixed rail, especially a fixed rail that runs along the same course as one of the most potentially powerful faults in the continent, one facility can serve many destinations, just as LAX, Burbank, Ontario, Long Beach, San Francisco, San Jose, and San Luis Obispo do now.

Heck, even Bakersfield and Fresno — the two areas that the high-speed rail will connect first, more or less — have airports that serviced 111,000 and 570,000 commercial service boardings in 2008, respectively.  I guarantee that the number of people who want to move just between those two destinations on a train will be a fraction of a fraction of those amounts.

Californians have finally figured out that the $100 billion high-speed rail project is nothing but a public-works sinkhole that will financially cripple the state for no good reason other than to allow a few politicians a great photo op in front of the choo-choo.  If Brown persists in pushing the bond sales, perhaps Californians will finally start considering different options for their elected representatives than the fools who have pushed them well past the brink of fiscal disaster, and who now want to bury them in debt forever.


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If Brown persists in pushing the bond sales, perhaps Californians will finally start considering different options for their elected representatives than the fools who have pushed them well past the brink of fiscal disaster, and who now want to bury them in debt forever.

Wishful thinking, I think.

SlaveDog on January 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM

People who advocate trains in California have never tried taking them for transportation. I tried commuting on one for six months. My two hour (round trip) commute turned into a 3 hour and twenty minute commute. The train station was four miles away from work and I had to take bus from there. Even if I’d left an old junker at the station for the last segment, it was slower because of all the stops. Now I carpool.

Thanks for writing this Ed, I hope this project dies. Otherwise I and my forbears will pay princely sums for it.

theCork on January 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Statists and their trains. Some fascinations never cease, and rarely end well.

abobo on January 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

It probably doesn’t help that the route changed yet again this week to make the proposed route even longer and more circuitous…

Yeah, but I hear they’ll save a bundle by subcontracting all the construction to a single firm, Credit Mobilier.

Fabozz on January 14, 2012 at 12:07 PM

If Brown persists in pushing the bond sales, perhaps Californians will finally start considering different options for their elected representatives than the fools who have pushed them well past the brink of fiscal disaster, and who now want to bury them in debt forever.

Nah. They’re idiots. They’ve elected the politicians they deserve.

nukemhill on January 14, 2012 at 12:08 PM

SEE! IT IS A MENTAL DESIESE!

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2012 at 12:09 PM

This would make Boston’s big dig look like a neighborhood sidewalk project that finished on time and under budget.

Robert Jensen on January 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM

And yet the schools are still pushing the liberal mantra that high speed rail is a more efficient means of transportation.

The Socialist mindset is a study in dysfunctional thinking.

Still imagining the DNC chair’s handlers keep a designer straight-jacket behind the scenes for her.

mad scientist on January 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Ed, I know it must hurt that your home state has become or is becoming a third world entity.

celtic warrior on January 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Get out of the way! The bus of the future is here!

SlaveDog on January 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM

$100 billion, divided by California’s population of 37 million equals an additional per capita debt of $2,700 on top of the existing per capita debt.

Dextrous on January 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM

I started thinking about what would be a sensible fallback position for the rail people. It would be something like a light rail to the SF and LA airports from the downtown of the two cities. The problem with the left is that think of a Plan B for the case when Plan A becomes too expensive.

thuja on January 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM

There is no replacing rail…..for freight. Passengers are a Darwinian joke, esp in California. As for the Mexi/Berkeley/Dharmaorians they’ll make lemmings look smart.

Limerick on January 14, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Ed, I know it must hurt that your home state has become or is becoming a third world entity.

celtic warrior on January 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM

I have been wondering if there is anyway we can kick California out of the United States. I mean this seriously. If the Red Counties want to rejoin as Nova California, we could welcome them back in.

thuja on January 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

What fools these people are. They have destroyed their economy by driving out business. They have destroyed government service delivery by welcoming illegals in unprecedented amounts. They no longer produce anywhere near the power the State needs and must import it from Arizona. And they have driven out the middle class tax base.
So how does this collapsing State intend to show that it is still relevant?
By doubling down.

pat on January 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

I can see it now. They float the bonds for the rail, then borrow from rail for the operating budget of the state.

Most of us would go to jail if we tried it, but I’ll bet my next paycheck that they are already thinking of this.

J_Crater on January 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM

If there are profits to be made, the private sector would have built high-speed rail in CA a long, long time ago. The only way high-speed rail survives is by huge government (taxpayers – all across the US) subsidies. Just like AMTRAK – subsidized by taxpayer to the hilt!

Bob in VA on January 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM

If Brown persists in pushing the bond sales, perhaps Californians will finally start considering different options for their elected representatives than the fools who have pushed them well past the brink of fiscal disaster, and who now want to bury them in debt forever.

Being a native Californian and seeing the politics in this state for over 50 years, if the fools who have voted for these fools haven’t figured it our by now, this certainly won’t change things.

dirtseller on January 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Don’t expect any real change in California politics. The Democrats have gerrymandered the state very well and very carefully for the last few scores of years. (Got that, decades & decades.)

There are NO competitive Legislative districts.

There is also this really cool “open primary” system. Watch in the next election cycle when there are no “Republicans” in the run-offs between 2 Democrats.

The Republican party in California has been totally eviscerated! Given the number of Congressional seats in the state, it’s going to be a real problem for the rest of the country.

CrazyGene on January 14, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Socialists love rail and public transportation because they get to control where you can go and when you can leave.

No other reason than it feeds the control freak in them.

This is why they hate the automobile. They hate the idea that we can pick up and go wherever we wish to go at any time we wish to go there.

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

My wife hates my unique ability to figure out what is going to happen in a movie….right after the opening credits finish.

So let me apply that gift here:

CA will sell billions of dollars in transportation bonds with a majority being purchased by various federal agencies as an “asset” for their federal retirement fund portfolio’s.

The money obtained for the high speed rail project will be “re-routed” to provide support to the failing CA social programs and CA employee retirement plans. The rail project will continue, but at a much slower pace. And, of course, it will need additional funding, so more bonds will be sold to the US government.

This cycle will continue indefinitely.

BobMbx on January 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

thuja on January 14, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Light Rail is a White Elephant, too. Just a smaller one. Ask Portland or Seattle about that.

JeffWeimer on January 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

One more thought on my home state of California.

Just think how difficult it would be to get people to voluntarily leave one of the most beautiful places in the world with one of the most temperate climates for places like the deserts of Arizona and the humidity of Texas.

This is the magic that the liberal democrats pulled off in California.

dirtseller on January 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

The Republican party in California has been totally eviscerated! Given the number of Congressional seats in the state, it’s going to be a real problem for the rest of the country.

CrazyGene on January 14, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Which is going to continue to decline.

In another decade, California will have nothing left but some rich Hollywood types, everyone else will be illegal amigos or welfaries.

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

J_Crater on January 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Ok, you were first.

BobMbx on January 14, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Californians need to recall Jerry Brown and run him out on a rail!

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Maybe the people who don’t want to end up paying for this boondoggle should keep pointing out better routes that will then up being studied by the rail commission into infinity and beyond.

Kissmygrits on January 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Somebody with Photoshop skills, please help little Barry dress appropriately.

ElectricPhase on January 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Californians need to recall Jerry Brown and run him out on a rail!

KOOLAID2 on January 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Californians are going to continue to elect more like him. Until their state dissolves in receivership.

They will never stop voting for statists.

However, I would like to build a wall AROUND California to prevent them from leaving and voting for this madness in other places. We’ll turn California into a prison for liberals: within the borders, you may vote for whomever you want and run things however you want. But you can’t get help from anywhere outside, you have to survive on your own!

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I have been wondering if there is anyway we can kick California out of the United States. I mean this seriously. If the Red Counties want to rejoin as Nova California, we could welcome them back in.

thuja on January 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

And cut off one of the biggest ATMs for Democrats in the country? Won’t happen.

Of course, if it did. Democrats everywhere simply would disable their credit card donor address verification systems on their websites. Like Obama did.

de rigueur on January 14, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I think the last scene of Silver Streak is in order.

California’s high speed future!

WTF!

profitsbeard on January 14, 2012 at 12:38 PM

If it were going to be built the Antelope Valley route makes a lot more sense.

The reality is that passenger rail only works in the 100-250 mile sweet-spot. Below that everyone drives. Above that everyone flies, even the Europeans.

The promoters may be pitching this as SF-LA but that’s crap. Very few people are going to ride the thing the whole distance.

They’re going to be going up and down the valley and commuting from the valley to the urbs. Bakersfield-LA, Palmdale-LA, Modesto-Palo Alto, and so forth.

But once again the costs on this thing are ridiculous.

JEM on January 14, 2012 at 12:45 PM

Doubling Tripling Quadrupling down on stupid.

iurockhead on January 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

And what will the final bill be?!

conservative pilgrim on January 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM

We (Californians) should mandate that the existing rail line between LA and the San Jose area be upgraded rather than building an entirely new line. You can take a train from LA to San Jose (and change to CalTrain at the San Jose station for the trip into San Francisco) but it is faster to drive the distance.

We already have a rail line. Lets upgrade the existing rights of way rather than building entirely new ones.

crosspatch on January 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Just think how difficult it would be to get people to voluntarily leave one of the most beautiful places in the world with one of the most temperate climates for places like the deserts of Arizona and the humidity of Texas.

This is the magic that the liberal democrats pulled off in California.

dirtseller on January 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Great point. Whenever I have visited California, I’ve marveled at the beauty of the state. The coastal highway, the mountains and even the desert are tremendous natural attractions. But there is no way I want to live there, or even visit. The libs have managed to screw it up totally. An ironic twist on Joanie Mitchell’s “Pave Paradise” isn’t it?

AZfederalist on January 14, 2012 at 12:49 PM

Somebody with Photoshop skills, please help little Barry dress appropriately.

ElectricPhase on January 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Sweet

iurockhead on January 14, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Ed: “Here’s a better, less expensive way to serve one of the “fastest-growing areas in Los Angeles County”: build an airport.”

But what if they did both– the high-speed rail routed through Palmdale AND the LA/Palmdale Regional Airport?

They’ve been trying to get that airport going for years. Nobody in LA wants to drive out there to catch a plane. Catch a high-speed train at Union Station… mmm, maybe…

There’s a reason for that dog-leg re-route. Find out who’s holding title to the 17,500 acres of undeveloped land around the Palmdale Airport, and you’ll find out either who is quietly backing Jerry Brown, or with whom Jerry Brown wishes to curry political favor.

If anyone remembers Chinatown, the underlying plot of which is the acquisition of a gazillion acres of dirt-cheap farmland on the fringes of L.A. by a powerful, politically-connected figure, then exponentially increasing the value of that land by means of a public works project, this latest on the high-speed rail may seem eerily familiar.

de rigueur on January 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM

CA will sell billions of dollars in transportation bonds with a majority being purchased by various federal agencies as an “asset” for their federal retirement fund portfolio’s.

The money obtained for the high speed rail project will be “re-routed” to provide support to the failing CA social programs and CA employee retirement plans. The rail project will continue, but at a much slower pace. And, of course, it will need additional funding, so more bonds will be sold to the US government.

This cycle will continue indefinitely.

BobMbx on January 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

I fear you’re right and the only reason I’m not laughing at these fools is that I know that when CA defaults, we’re going to have to bail them out.

The Federal Government will bail out CALPERS and any other public pension funds that exist. Private pensions need not apply. CA politicans and publics workers will not have to pay the price for
their spendthrift ways.

WisRich on January 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM

WTF do a bunch of dumb taxpayers know? Seriously, are they unaware that choo-choo trains make rich liberals feel cosmopolitan, or that unions need wasteful public projects awarded to them so they can reciprocate with huge campaign donations to demorat pols?

Average dopey citizens need to be led by smart people, the more liberal the better.

Bishop on January 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Now,now.
When Jerry Brown reads the polls and sees that the most of the populace of the state is opposed to this boondoggle, he will instantly cancel it.

After all he knows that government is there to serve the wants of the people. Never mind all the groups that bankroll him and all the enviromental wackos, Jerry is bigger than all of them.

Instead he will propose a fleet of flying unicorns to travel between LA and SaFran. It will of course require $33 billion to research this worthwhile project.

Aren’t you voters of California glad that you entrusted your lives to such a great mind?

Alferd Packer on January 14, 2012 at 12:56 PM

along the same stupid lines…….

…..our 5th grade public school yung un brought home (this new semester) a “eco-kit” that included a CFL bulb, a new low-flow shower head and water constricting device for the sink, etc.

So just in case you’re one of those parents that hasn’t embraced what the state/gov thinks you should do (buy the mercury laden CFL bulbs) and restricted your water down to a drizzle then they will GIVE YOU and your stupid family all the things you need to start inconveniencing your life (slower water flow, means longer shower, etc.)

THIS is the same kind of SHINOLA BRAINS sense we have spending money on this rail project and all the other tens of thousands of “projects” that sound all warm and fuzzy but are NOT NECESSARY.

And these lying career politicians can stand there with a straight face and tell us we can’t cut spending?

NO WONDER people are going after RON PAUL and his trillion in spending cuts?

PappyD61 on January 14, 2012 at 12:56 PM

$100Billion. I just checked, Southwest airfare LA to San Franscisco is $193 for Business Select. To put that in perspective, $100B is 518 million of those $193 tickets. That’s assuming that the whole ticket cost is just for the initial capital setup that the $100B represents. Assuming this boondoggle has a 20 year lifespan, that’s 25 million passengers per year commuting (round trip) between LA and SF. That works out to 71,000 people a day, 365/24/7. Anybody think this is even close to reasonable? Especially given that tickets will have to be in excess of $300 because the operating and maintenance costs need to be covered somewhere as well.

As far as people using this for closer in commutes, that doesn’t seem realistic. Doesn’t that kind of negate the high speed part of this project?

AZfederalist on January 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

dirtseller on January 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Eventually the ruinous policies will hit home. Haiti has some beautiful beaches, but go inland a few hundred yards and there starts some of the world’s premier ghettos.

Not everyone can live on Cali beaches, people will have to continue to reside in neighborhoods which increasingly resemble inner-city Detroit. If things don’t change, sooner or later even the nice weather won’t be enough when you can’t feed your family or you risk death by gunshot simply walking out the front door.

Bishop on January 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM

WTF do a bunch of dumb taxpayers know? Seriously, are they unaware that choo-choo trains make rich liberals feel cosmopolitan, or that unions need wasteful public projects awarded to them so they can reciprocate with huge campaign donations to demorat pols?

Average dopey citizens need to be led by smart people, the more liberal the better.

Bishop on January 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM

And don’t forget that 99.9% of the people advocating to spend $100B on these choo-choo’s don’t plan on using them.

A side benefit is getting the sheeple off the roads so that the elites can make better time to their destination in their limousines.

WisRich on January 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Here’s a better, less expensive way to serve one of the “fastest-growing areas in Los Angeles County”: build an airport.

But think of the carbon footprint! Won’t somebody please think of the carbon footprint?

novakyu on January 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

And don’t forget that 99.9% of the people advocating to spend $100B on these choo-choo’s don’t plan on using them.

A side benefit is getting the sheeple off the roads so that the elites can make better time to their destination in their limousines.

WisRich on January 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Socialism is for the masses, not the SOCIALISTS. Why else does, for example, Algore have luxury mansions on beaches ON BOTH COASTS, ride exclusively in private jets and limousines while telling us that our much more modest homes and vehicles are destroying the world?

Why, it’s because WE are supposed to sacrifice and lose electricity, vehicles, and transportation so that WE “save the world” so that The Goreacle and other elites can continue to enjoy THEIRS.

The science and the studies on “global warming” or whatever other poppycock these people come up with doesn’t matter a bit. Not even the scandals in their forgeries. Nope, the REAL scandal is that clearly not ONE of these alarmists believe a WORD OF IT THEMSELVES or you would see the results in THEIR OWN LIVES.

Which you do not and never will see.

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Forgot to add: Also, never forget that the biggest reason why socialists want extensive public transportation AND the elimination of the private automobile is CONTROL.

They want us to be FORCED to live in the cities right on top of our jobs, instead of able to move away from them and still work. That way we’ll NEVER have representation in government, as the cities have degenerated into failed welfare states, each and every one of them. The takers will be able to drown out our votes, and the cities will enjoy looting our pockets. That is what happens to captive audiences.

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 1:16 PM

I’ll just leave this here…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF_yLodI1CQ

/Surprised no one beat me to it.

DangerHighVoltage on January 14, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Dirty obstructionist Rethuglicans. You hate the working man.

CW on January 14, 2012 at 1:19 PM

This is the magic that the liberal democrats pulled off in California.

dirtseller on January 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Very correct. My son left for Oklahoma in 2002, my daughter for Arizona in 2004 and my wife and I for Arizona in 2007. We miss the beauty and weather of California but not the taxes and politics.

chemman on January 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Europeans and Asians live in cities much more dense than most American cities. In Europe or Asia, the major cities are about as dense as New York City, and to boot, the cities are very close together. It’s like having Houston 100 miles away from New York and Los Angeles.

I can see a rail project like this working somewhere like India in the next 20 years, but not the US.

Sekhmet on January 14, 2012 at 1:43 PM

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM

Would be nice. However, all of us conservatives who have left would have been forced to stay in that political hell hole.

chemman on January 14, 2012 at 1:50 PM

thuja on January 14, 2012 at 12:16 PM

Where do you want to send the rest of us who voted against all this crap??? You know, the ones of us who still managed to keep our heads about us and not go all bat shit crazy when that crazy hippy Jerry Brown decided he wanted to run again? How many freeways is he going to stop building this time???

Alferd Packer on January 14, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Most of us valley Californians DIDN’T vote for that a$$hole. That’s what I think about that.

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I’m afraid you are right. The liberal jerks that control our state do not listen to their people. They vote the way they see fit. Which is to vote the way the money comes in. Screw the people. If we could split the state into West California and East California, you don’t know how quickly East Cali would fill up. But, we’d leave Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein in West Cali, as they are 3 of the biggest jokes in our state. Forget the wall AROUND California, put it right down the middle of the state. Liberals in WC and the rest of us will migrate to EC. California used to be the state of the golden opportunity. Now it is the biggest nanny state in the union beause we have to accomodate all the “diversity” they keep cramming down our throats.

roxi618 on January 14, 2012 at 1:52 PM

If there are profits to be made, the private sector would have built high-speed rail in CA a long, long time ago. The only way high-speed rail any kind of public transportation survives is by huge government (taxpayers – all across the US) subsidies. Just like AMTRAK – subsidized by taxpayer to the hilt!

Bob in VA on January 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM

FIFY

Years ago I was in Japan for a couple weeks and the people I was visiting told me that the trains there were a financial wreck. If Japan, where damn near everyone takes takes trains and buses, can’t get public transportation to make a a profit, then no one can.

Goldenavatar on January 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM

This stuff is all “crony capitalism” wrapped in “feel good” socialist manure.

DeepThroat is right, follow the money!!!

CrazyGene on January 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 12:24 PM

California Businessman, is an illegal with a taco cart

CrazyGene on January 14, 2012 at 2:20 PM

I want out of this place badly, but I’m trapped in a hellhole state because I own an unsellable house here. I watch Jerry Brown and his buddies wrecking the place, and I go around and around in circles trying to figure out how to get out without totally ruining my credit rating. I don’t think there is a way. Sooner or later, I will probably walk away from my house and property.

What a choice.

On the other hand, if ol’ Barack gets a second term, what is happening here will happen all over the country, so I guess I’ll wait until after November to make my decision.

hachiban on January 14, 2012 at 2:23 PM

If there are profits to be made, the private sector would have built high-speed rail in CA a long, long time ago. The only way high-speed rail survives is by huge government (taxpayers – all across the US) subsidies. Just like AMTRAK – subsidized by taxpayer to the hilt!

Bob in VA on January 14, 2012 at 12:17 PM

America’s first railroads were privately capitalized. The Federal Government didn’t get involved in the railroad business until several decades after the entire eastern US, all the way west to Chicago, had been covered with tracks.

Same with turnpikes; all of the first ones were privately capitalized.

As for AMTRAK, you’re right. However, their Boston-NYC-PHL-BALT-DC corridor Acela trains apparently do pay their own way now, unlike the rest of the AMTRAK system.

Del Dolemonte on January 14, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Only 33% want it to move ahead, a very low figure especially for California, and especially for the sampling type of this survey.

And at most, only 10% of them would ever ride the damn thing.

“Oh, I think it’s wonderful for the environment and its cool and sooo European. They’re so much more sophisticated than Americans, except me and my friends of course. I couldn’t ride it though because I need my car, unlike all those people I’ve decided drive too much and are destroying the planet. Besides, I’m special because I’m such a caring person and I have a compost heap and everything.” – California Libtard

RadClown on January 14, 2012 at 2:29 PM

If anyone remembers Chinatown, the underlying plot of which is the acquisition of a gazillion acres of dirt-cheap farmland on the fringes of L.A. by a powerful, politically-connected figure, then exponentially increasing the value of that land by means of a public works project, this latest on the high-speed rail may seem eerily familiar.
de rigueur on January 14, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Unions and Political Payoffs with enormous amounts of money have to be the reason for this ‘Illogical Boondoggle’ otherwise no sane man would back it.
I wish we could:
• Reduce the legislature to part time with part time pay.
• Recall Governor Brown and any other political idiot that backs this Grand Theft.
• Eliminate the hundreds of useless boards, committees and bureaus with a ‘Grandfather’ clause.
• Make the legislature forfeit their paychecks if California runs a deficit.
• Reduce the size of all Government components by 20% through attrition…no replacing any retiree until their department shrinks to 80% of the personnel now employed.
I would also like for everyone to become rational thinkers, but that is not going to happen either.

Uniblogger on January 14, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Thanks for writing this Ed, I hope this project dies. Otherwise I and my forbears descendents will pay princely sums for it.

theCork on January 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

never write before coffee.

theCork on January 14, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Light Rail is a White Elephant, too. Just a smaller one. Ask Portland or Seattle about that.

JeffWeimer on January 14, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Add western PA, which has been schlepping the idea of a commuter rail line around now for over a decade. The idea still remains to use existing freight rail lines, presumably, when they aren’t using them, for commuter trains only for morning and evening rush hours. Every now and then, there’s a map in the papers showing the proposed route, with the now-tired story of grants waiting to be received (if ever … the answer will most assuredly be no), officials meeting for planning sessions, etc. You’d think that newspapers, with their flagging finances, would use that space for an ad instead.

Nope, the REAL scandal is that clearly not ONE of these alarmists believe a WORD OF IT THEMSELVES or you would see the results in THEIR OWN LIVES.

wildcat72 on January 14, 2012 at 1:14 PM

And you can be sure they are laughing up their sleeves contemptuously at all the dummies who are credulous enough to believe them and to buy into it.

PatriotGal2257 on January 14, 2012 at 2:47 PM

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0114-bullet-train-20120114,0,7372153.story

That’s a new LATimes story entitled “Gov. Jerry Brown enlarges his role in California’s foundering bullet train project”

unclesmrgol on January 14, 2012 at 2:56 PM

Get out of the way! The bus of the future is here!

SlaveDog on January 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Awesome! But why not build both?

Kenosha Kid on January 14, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Here’s a better, less expensive way to serve one of the “fastest-growing areas in Los Angeles County”: build an airport. Let’s say it would cost a billion dollars for a decent regional airport. That would be 1/100th the cost of the high-speed rail system proposed (at least in the current estimate) and it would allow more than one operator to compete for the demand to take passengers from the Antelope Valley to San Francisco … and San Diego, and Sacramento, and Phoenix, and Lake Tahoe, and Las Vegas, and any number of other destinations.

Ed, I live in the Antelope Valley, and the only people I am aware of that are excited about this boondoggle coming through here are the Palmdale politicians, since they are the ones that benefit from the cash that would flow here. Lancaster would not benefit, because the train wouldn’t stop here.

And we DO have a regional airport. It is co-located with US Air Force Plant 42, has an existing terminal and all the bennies (including TSA!). It is currently non-operational, as we have tried several times to have commuter flights from it, and at one point had a heavily subsidized United Airlines commuter flight out of here. The issue is that there isn’t enough business to make flights out of here economically feasible, and the destinations (SF, for example) aren’t popular with the local populace, even though you could catch a connecting flight in SF.

When we travel from the Antelope Valley, we tend to drive to Burbank or LAX. The drive there isn’t that long and the choices of flights are better. It’s actually worth driving there to get what you want.

And no one that I have ever spoken with would personally use the planned high-speed train if it did ever get built.

Chappy on January 14, 2012 at 3:15 PM

People who advocate trains in California have never tried taking them for transportation. I tried commuting on one for six months. My two hour (round trip) commute turned into a 3 hour and twenty minute commute. The train station was four miles away from work and I had to take bus from there. Even if I’d left an old junker at the station for the last segment, it was slower because of all the stops. Now I carpool.

theCork on January 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

Our bus service is like this. When my car was in the shop a couple years ago, I was forced to take a bus to work. What was normally a half-hour drive turned into an hour and 45-minute commute, made worse by not only the number of stops, but being rerouted because of the (endless) road construction. On subsequent times when I knew the mechanic was going to take longer than one day, I just rented a car.

PatriotGal2257 on January 14, 2012 at 3:17 PM

People who advocate trains in California have never tried taking them for transportation. I tried commuting on one for six months. My two hour (round trip) commute turned into a 3 hour and twenty minute commute. The train station was four miles away from work and I had to take bus from there. Even if I’d left an old junker at the station for the last segment, it was slower because of all the stops. Now I carpool.

theCork on January 14, 2012 at 12:06 PM

As a native CA myself I couldn’t believe when this passed in 2008. LA & SF bought into it hoping it would take the riff-raff off the highways and make their commute faster…

ccrosby on January 14, 2012 at 3:40 PM

General-population surveys, as opposed to registered or likely voter polls, tend to produce outcomes more favorable to liberal policies.

General population in CA = illegals and ” minority” inner-city communities on welfare for generations now .
This ” general-population” wants high speed rail between LA and SF thru Central Valley to easily transport drugs and illegals, as well as to escape from crime scenes in a jiffy . You can’t do that with airports and TSA

burrata on January 14, 2012 at 3:48 PM

One of the chief characteristics of a “good” public works project is that the whole thing doesn’t collapse until its backers have all retired from the scene. So High Speed Rail is a Go!

Fred 2 on January 14, 2012 at 4:11 PM

If Brown persists in pushing the bond sales, perhaps Californians will finally start considering different options for their elected representatives than the fools who have pushed them well past the brink of fiscal disaster, and who now want to bury them in debt forever.

I doubt it. Having lived here since 1963, you can’t fix stupid.

GarandFan on January 14, 2012 at 4:57 PM

As a life-long Californian, one thing I can attest to is that Californians, from center-left to far left have gone completely bat-crap crazy in the last three decades.

There must be something in the water that makes California liberals even stupider than liberals from other states.

We became the greatest state in the nation and one of the world’s strongest economies, to the worst state and a collapsing economy in what historically speaking was a very short time.

And this is no cyclical downturn – California voters and legislators have teamed together in what history will surely judge as some sort of mass insanity to accelerate us unerringly toward financial, social and demographic suicide.

CA used to lead America out of recessions and near-recessions with growth, jobs, innovation and the multiplier effect of those dollars in the economy – but those days are gone.

And I’m certain that no matter what you read or hear, CA high speed rail is not going to die.

California government has become a government of the Unions, by the Unions and for the Unions – and there is nothing on the horizon that will or can change that. And HSR is very, very *good* for our new masters – it redistributes hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars to them.

And as certain as the sun coming up in the morning, the idiot CA liberal voters will continue to cast their vote for the same old things, over and over and over until elections become unaffordable and unnecessary…

DrDeano on January 15, 2012 at 11:34 AM