California high speed rail project going pretty much as expected

posted at 6:31 pm on May 20, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

It’s been a while since we checked in on one of Ed’s favorite subjects, that being California’s high speed rail project. The proposed service hopes to whisk commuters from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a matter of hours without all that bother of using the existing regional air service to do the same thing faster. Earlier this year, Ed noted that some observers felt that the financing for this effort was looking “increasingly risky.” This weekend the Wall Street Journal reports that our earlier estimation was in error. The financing isn’t “risky” at all… it’s an unmitigated disaster.

The good news in this debacle is that the state’s fiscal woes will make it nearly impossible to complete Governor Jerry Brown’s runaway high-speed rail train. The bad news is that the Governor is going to try anyway.

Transportation experts warn that the 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles could cost more than $100 billion, though the Governor pegs the price at a mere $68 billion. The state has $12.3 billion in pocket, $9 billion from the state and $3.3 billion from the feds, but Mr. Brown hasn’t a clue where he’ll get the rest. Maybe he’s hoping Facebook will buy the train, though he’ll have a hard time convincing Mark Zuckerberg that it’s worth 100 Instagrams.

As the WSJ article goes on to point out, voters were originally sold on putting up $9B in bonds to fund the project on the promise that it would “only” cost $33B in total and that a combination of federal dollars and private investments would make up the rest. But Washington is facing something of a cash crunch itself, in case you hadn’t heard, and no investment firms want to pony up any money without some assurance of revenue down the road. It’s simply not happening.

I remain a fan of rail travel, partly because I hate flying and partly from a sense of nostalgia I suppose. And I’m still hopeful that projects like this may yet come to fruition in places where they make sense. The Northeast corridor from Boston to Washington, DC still looks like it could support a high speed rail project if it were implemented intelligently. But California has neither the money nor the culture to support it.

The state currently has a budget deficit which has grown by $7B just this year. And the residents there still very much live in a “car culture.” (One of the running jokes on the left coast is that LA has a subway system which rivals that of New York City, but nobody rides it.) This boondoggle looks like it will go down in history as an idea that makes the Big Dig look fiscally prudent by comparison.


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at least $250 Billion if it is ever built….and the first segment is from nowhere to less than nowhere…..

and yet we keep electing DIMWITS who just spend more each year….

SDarchitect on May 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

Socialists love trains.

Wethal on May 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

The average California voter, spoiled by 50 years of prosperity, has no concept of money. They treat the ballot initiatives like a Chinese menu: 1 from Column A and 1 from Column B.

Someone else is going to pay.

cane_loader on May 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM

That would be destination: bankrupt, right?

IrishEyes on May 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM

Anyone recall what the first estimate of the Big Dig in Boston was?

Wethal on May 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM

That’s why we refer to it as “the Browndoggle”.

But never fear, in one of his ramblings, Jerry says that ‘foreign private investors’ can’t wait to jump in.

Bet they’re all shipping tycoons from Greece.

GarandFan on May 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM

But Washington is facing something of a cash crunch itself, in case you hadn’t heard,

What, no stimulus for BHO’s California buddies? Not “green” enough?

IrishEyes on May 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Ah, a measly one hundred billion for a train that will be so pleasing for Hollywood liberals to contemplate as they glide by in their limos.

RWB on May 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

For the $’s I would have stayed with using the island hoppers.

Bmore on May 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

The reason the first scheduled section is so remote is that they cannot begin to afford to acquire the property through more densely populated areas – not to mention the public protests and lawsuits the attempt would begin.

It’s a stupid idea from stupid people with stupid execution.

Good thing California has so much extra money, huh?

Adjoran on May 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

So very glad I shook the CA dust off my heels in Sept. 2005…

OmahaConservative on May 20, 2012 at 6:41 PM

What, no stimulus for BHO’s California buddies? Not “green” enough?

IrishEyes on May 20, 2012 at 6:37 PM

Not a swing state in 2012. Too true blue.

Wethal on May 20, 2012 at 6:41 PM

California high speed rail project going pretty much as expected

Going the way of the dinosaurs…

Fluffing themselves to death.

Electrongod on May 20, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Transportation experts warn that the 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles could will cost more than $100 $200 billion

Fixed.

BallisticBob on May 20, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Our politicians here in California are horrendous: Like Obama, they believe they are inside someone else’s vault and are duty bound to plunder as much as possible.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 20, 2012 at 6:51 PM

Socialists love trains.

Wethal on May 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

How else would they get us to the camps?

BDavis on May 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM

I take the Amtrak from LA to San Diego from time to time. I’m in no hurry though. Even the conductors are in no hurry to collect tickets from people who climb aboard along the way. I even witnessed a conversation between a walk on and a conductor. It seems as though the walk on “customers” have the upper hand. They have no problem telling the conductors that they have no tickets and just sit calmly waiting for their turn to get off. Yet another government freebie paid for by you and me.

LeftCoastRight on May 20, 2012 at 6:54 PM

If you’re a Californian & you want to start a business, there are a number of different routes you can take:

http://www.utsandiego.com/photos/galleries/steve-breen-gallery/#/5

itsnotaboutme on May 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

So very glad I shook the CA dust off my heels in Sept. 2005…

OmahaConservative on May 20, 2012 at 6:41 PM

..that said, we haven’t seen you around these parts in the last two weeks or so. Many of us were concerned. You doin’ o.k.?

The War Planner on May 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Anyone recall what the first estimate of the Big Dig in Boston was?

Initial estimate; $2.6 billion (1982).

But that’s to be expected. In 1964, the projected 1990 cost for Part A Medicare was $9 Billion. The 1990 actual cost was $67 BILLION.

Government isn’t very good at estimating.

GarandFan on May 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Hey — The monorail in Sydney, Australia is being dismantled.
Maybe theres a deal to be made?

The Monorail Song
9F10 – 14th January 1993

[Lyle Lanley] Well sir, there’s nothin’ on earth like a genuine, bonafide, electrified, six-car monorail!
What’d I say?
[Ned Flanders] Monorail!
[Lyle] What’s it called?
[Patty & Selma] Monorail
[Lyle] That’s right, monorail!
[All chant] Monorail, monorail, monorail…
[Ms Hoover] I hear those things are awfully loud
[Lyle] It glides as softly as a cloud
[Apu] Is there a chance the track could bend?
[Lyle] Not on your life, my Hindu friend
[Barney] What about us braindead slobs?
[Lyle] You’ll be given cushy jobs
[Grampa] Were you sent here by the devil?
[Lyle] No, good sir, I’m on the level
[Chief Wiggum] The ring came off my pudding can
[Lyle] Take my pen knife, my good man
I swear it’s Springfield’s only choice
Throw up your hands and raise your voice!
Monorail!
What’s it called?
Monorail!
Once again!
Monorail!
[Marge] But Main Street’s still all cracked and broken
[Bart] Sorry, mom, the mob has spoken
[All] Monorail! Monorail!
Monorail!
Monorail!
[Homer] Mono- d’oh!

/.

CaveatEmpty on May 20, 2012 at 7:02 PM

If you’re a Californian & you want to start a business, there are a number of different routes you can take:

http://www.utsandiego.com/photos/galleries/steve-breen-gallery/#/5

itsnotaboutme on May 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Oops.
OK, when you get to the cartoons at the link, the one I intended is the one marked 5/23.
(even though we haven’t reached 5/23/12 yet)

itsnotaboutme on May 20, 2012 at 7:05 PM

They have no problem telling the conductors that they have no tickets and just sit calmly waiting for their turn to get off. Yet another government freebie paid for by you and me.

LeftCoastRight on May 20, 2012 at 6:54 PM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o39ZuGNaGVg

unclesmrgol on May 20, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Just another way for the government to corral as many people as they can and control when, where and how they travel.

bugsy on May 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

The War Planner on May 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Yep. I’m fine and thanks for asking. Those last few open registrations let in some pretty nasty trolls, so I just took a much needed break. Looks like things have calmed down somewhat…

OmahaConservative on May 20, 2012 at 7:06 PM

Look no further than the Charlotte, NC light rail project (Lynx Rapid Transit Services). It was originally slated to be 13.5-mile route at a cost of $225M ($16.67M/mile).

It ended up 9.6 miles long at a cost of $462.7M ($48.2M/mile) or 2.89 times the original cost estimate.

For a stretch of rail less than ten miles long!

Of course Charlotte hired Parsons Brinckerhoff of Big Dig fame to design the project so the cost overruns, or the lawsuits that followed, shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

pain train on May 20, 2012 at 7:07 PM

The reason the first scheduled section is so remote is that they cannot begin to afford to acquire the property through more densely populated areas – not to mention the public protests and lawsuits the attempt would begin.

Adjoran on May 20, 2012 at 6:38 PM

Adjoran, you are absolutely correct.

In order for rail to go high speed, the track needs to go straight and level with as few intermidiate stops as possible. To gain business passengers, it needs to go from the downtown San Francisco to downtown(?) Los Angeles.

Are Brown and greenies going to Nazi on eminent domain and ignore environmental, historical preservation issues? No.

Brown is advocating a project which is completely contrary to his greeny principles, if he has any principles.

An internally inconsistent, self-defeating, outrageously expensive boondoogle.

slp on May 20, 2012 at 7:09 PM

1. It will never be built.

2. It will cost $159 billion to realize Point 1.

3. It will drive even more healthy businesses out of the state.

jukin3 on May 20, 2012 at 7:11 PM

High Speed Fail.

hepcat on May 20, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Moonbeam is planning to use the $50-100 billion (LOL) in revenues pouring in from cap and tax when it takes effect next year. Of course, economic catastrophe will follow from that law, not billions in tax revenues, but look on the bright side! It might work.

“Remain calm! All is well.”

PattyJ on May 20, 2012 at 7:16 PM

The average California voter, spoiled by 50 years of prosperity, has no concept of money. They treat the ballot initiatives like a Chinese menu: 1 from Column A and 1 from Column B.

Someone else is going to pay.

cane_loader on May 20, 2012 at 6:35 PM

lol. At least with the Chinese menu, one generally has an idea of what’s coming. While I like the idea of ballot propositions, it has become very corrupted here—and unfortunately too many uninformed voters are making big decisions based on “feelings.”

arnold ziffel on May 20, 2012 at 7:20 PM

In the late 70s I carried a book of 10 PSA tickets in my brief case for travel between SF and LA. I would just go to the airport, tear out a ticket, and get on the plane. Always easy, no hassles. Those and similar days are gone for good.

GaltBlvnAtty on May 20, 2012 at 7:20 PM

At least the Italian socialists were able to get the trains to run on time. Our socialists here in California can’t even get the damn things on the tracks.

This High Speed rail idea of Gov. Moonbeam rivals that of his idea to allow public employees to unionize. The man is a genius I tell you, pure genius.

dirtseller on May 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM

instead of spending it where nobody will ride it why not redirect the money to New York where there aren’t enough trains. California should take the Federal money and invest it temporarily in New York to build some trains can actually be used and unless they are featherbedded into operating losses could actually make money.

New York will pay all of the money back. Cross my heart!

oznerola on May 20, 2012 at 7:27 PM

GaltBlvnAtty on May 20, 2012 at 7:20 PM

I loved flying PSA, and they always had the best crew. Those were the days…

OmahaConservative on May 20, 2012 at 7:32 PM

Here’s the problem. In areas where rail works (NYC) it was developed long before there was an alternative. towns sprung up along the lines and business was centralized (the business district aka Mid-town Manhattan). Much of the rest of the county was designed by shotgun. Work centers are scattered as are workers. More problematic, we have all become accustomed to coming and going as we please and we don’t like sharing seats with strangers. High speed rail has flopped wherever it has been tried, see Seattle for the latest. And read Hayek to find out why central planners will never be able to make the decisions that the market makes a million times a day.

pgrossjr on May 20, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Government isn’t very good at estimating.

GarandFan on May 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Yeah but they’re great a lying.

Oldnuke on May 20, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Recall Gov Jerry Brown.

listens2glenn on May 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Socialists love trains.

Wethal on May 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

.
I like trains; the ones that move FREIGHT.

Freight railroading makes money. Amtrak does NOT.

listens2glenn on May 20, 2012 at 7:39 PM

Government isn’t very good at estimating.

GarandFan on May 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

They have ZERO incentive to get it right.

In the real world going 10 years over schedule and 500% over budget gets you fired. In the public sector it gets you a promotion.

CorporatePiggy on May 20, 2012 at 7:42 PM

…oh heck…they should build it!…I’m sure they still have an element that would love to hold up trains!

KOOLAID2 on May 20, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Maybe we could put all our homeless on the train! Back and forth…forever.

PattyJ on May 20, 2012 at 7:53 PM

O/T, Bee Gees co-founder Robert Gibbs has died. My goodness, all those I grew up with listening to are dying.

RIP, Robert Gibbs.
L

letget on May 20, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Recall Gov Jerry Brown.

listens2glenn on May 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM

Been there, done that with Gray Davis. Didn’t help.
Don’t blame me, I voted for Tom McClintock…

OmahaConservative on May 20, 2012 at 7:54 PM

It’s a car culture, yes, and you can drive from LA to the SF area in 5 to 6 hours. So… if the rail doesn’t cut that significantly, it would not be much of an improvement over existing means to go from LA to SF.

If it costs 70 billion (which apparently is the amount the U.S. spent on “climate change activities” over the last 3 years), you table it then. Wait for some new technology or some other development to make it a good idea. Now it’s a bad idea.

anotherJoe on May 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Actually as a conservative I like passenger rail travel. Like everything, it used to work really well until the government got involved.

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Is it still called secession when done involuntarily?

StubbleSpark on May 20, 2012 at 8:08 PM

How do you measure the opportunity cost of such a boondoggle? So much wasted wealth and opportunity.

tom daschle concerned on May 20, 2012 at 8:14 PM

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM

I like it too, always have.

I can’t stand flying, haven’t flown since before 9/11. I’m sure my phobia would put me on the no-fly list the first time I tried it now.

So I drive everywhere but I’m getting older and marathon drives don’t work for me anymore. I’ve taken the train (and would do so a lot more often if I didn’t have to go 300 miles to get to one) and have loved it.

But if it were profitable, private enterprise would be into it.

Eren on May 20, 2012 at 8:21 PM

Cash black hole.

Count to 10 on May 20, 2012 at 8:34 PM

Been there, done that with Gray Davis. Didn’t help.
Don’t blame me, I voted for Tom McClintock…

OmahaConservative on May 20, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Me, too.

Count to 10 on May 20, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Even on the East Coast, the problem with HSR would be the gianormous cost of acquiring the ROW to have a dedicated line that could reach the speeds of the European and Japanese HSR trains, plus the fact that any HSR project through New York would require two new Hudson River tunnels (which Amtrak is looking at, but Gov. Christie cancelled the last New Jersey-centric tunnel plan when the cost estimates hit the $11-$14 billion mark. And that was just for 10 low-speed rail miles).

jon1979 on May 20, 2012 at 8:38 PM

But if it were profitable, private enterprise would be into it.

True, but don’t you think if the government didn’t subsidize highways more people would be riding the rails right about now?

I know here in Allegheny County the government stepped in years ago and forced private rail companies out of business. Now PAT can’t afford to run what they have now created and are crying for money from the state every day.

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Gawd, and I pay taxes here.

jake49 on May 20, 2012 at 8:44 PM

I hear that one-way high speed rail lines out of California to Arizona is rapidly gaining small business support.

viking01 on May 20, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Socialists love trains.

Wethal on May 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM
How else would they get us to the camps?

BDavis on May 20, 2012 at 6:52 PM

They gained plenty of experience with the undesireables of Europe a few years ago.

docflash on May 20, 2012 at 8:50 PM

True, but don’t you think if the government didn’t subsidize highways more people would be riding the rails right about now?

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 8:40 PM

Define “subsidizing”. People who buy gasoline pay tax per gallon that far exceeds the profit realized by the companies producing that gasoline. Those taxes are collected ostensibly for the purpose of building and maintaining roads and highways. That some of those funds have been diverted to “mass transit” is more indicative of the highway funds subsidizing mass transit, not taxpayers subsidizing the highway system.

AZfederalist on May 20, 2012 at 9:00 PM

To all those taking potshots at the Big Dig: I’m a civil engineer who had no involvement with the project. Yes, the price tag of the Big Dig grew many times over. Here’s the rest of the story: so did its scope. In other words, the dig turned out to be much bigger than originally proposed and when its price was first estimated. Not through any mistakes or malfeasance. Massachusetts just kept adding more and more stuff to their wish list so of course the price tag grew.

Doug Piranha on May 20, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Massachusetts just kept adding more and more stuff to their wish list so of course the price tag grew.

Doug Piranha on May 20, 2012 at 9:05 PM

And of course the sponsors of that little clusterf*ck, as in the taxpayers, weren’t all that amused as they never signed off on the revised scope.

Public sector works are great – there’s zero accountability.

CorporatePiggy on May 20, 2012 at 9:27 PM

Define “subsidizing”. People who buy gasoline pay tax per gallon that far exceeds the profit realized by the companies producing that gasoline. Those taxes are collected ostensibly for the purpose of building and maintaining roads and highways. That some of those funds have been diverted to “mass transit” is more indicative of the highway funds subsidizing mass transit, not taxpayers subsidizing the highway system.

AZfederalist on May 20, 2012 at 9:00 PM

I’m pretty sure the gas tax doesn’t come close to paying for upkeep and new construction of highways. That money has to come from someplace else. I’d be all for raising the gas tax to a level that pays for these items in their entirety, or just add more toll roads (yea I know they’ll be tracking me with my EZ-PASS). I would support this if it came with a corresponding reduction of income taxes since that money would no longer be needed for roads.

Is it really the responsibility of the federal government to build roads? Why not more railroads? I’m onboard with the whole Dwight Eisenhower lets build the autobahn here for national defense, but does that mean every highway is needed for war and should they be getting federal dollars?

They tried to make I-80 in PA here recently into a toll road. I was OK with this as long as they made it so that the tolls charged would go to maintaining the road. Instead they wanted to take the extra revenue and fund other pet projects.

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 9:35 PM

SF Peninsula NIMBY cranial melltdown in …3…2…1…

Kenosha Kid on May 20, 2012 at 9:36 PM

Cash black hole.

Count to 10 on May 20, 2012 at 8:34 PM

I was scanning the comments for similar thoughts on how this is a great way to make taxpayer money disappear – and there you were.

ericdijon on May 20, 2012 at 9:38 PM

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 9:35 PM

The PA section of I80 has always been the worst leg of any ride for any driver. Winters are the worst time to use it. Summers suck too because it isn’t wide enough to handle the vacation traffic on weekends. With the alcohol tax for trucks passing through PA, you would think it would be paved in velvet by now.

ericdijon on May 20, 2012 at 9:42 PM

The PA section of I80 has always been the worst leg of any ride for any driver. Winters are the worst time to use it. Summers suck too because it isn’t wide enough to handle the vacation traffic on weekends. With the alcohol tax for trucks passing through PA, you would think it would be paved in velvet by now.

ericdijon on May 20, 2012 at 9:42 PM

Rendell wanted velvet, but couldn’t shake any money out of his casino partners.

I’m more of a Turnpike driver, but in my trips up to NY I agree with you sentiments. Bad Weather, short on ramps, sharp curves is a recipe for disaster. Reminded my of the time I went to Fishkill, NY and drove the Taconic State Parkway. Couldn’t believe they put a highway through the woods and in peoples backyards. Expected hikers at any moment to cross the road.

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM

I remain a fan of rail travel, partly because I hate flying and partly from a sense of nostalgia I suppose. And I’m still hopeful that projects like this may yet come to fruition in places where they make sense. The Northeast corridor from Boston to Washington, DC still looks like it could support a high speed rail project if it were implemented intelligently.

Paid for how? Can’t wait to see the route of real estate that you wish to “purchase” and the sources of funding for buying and developing that land, and then paying to run a rail line there. Boston’s history of major public works projects isn’t entirely positive.

Dude…your RINOness was already well documented here. Did you really need to go here?

Jaibones on May 20, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Socialists love trains.

Wethal on May 20, 2012 at 6:34 PM

What is it, exactly, with Statists and their choo-choo trains?

I mean, from Mussolini to Kim Jong Il to Joe Biden and Jerry Brown, if there’s one thing that binds them together, it’s a fascination with rail transport. Something about trains, obviously, speaks deeply to some aspect of the leftist psyche, but what is it?

Hayabusa on May 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM

The Big Dig had lots of problems, cost being the most visible. But the fact is that the roads are used, traffic is better than it used to be, and things are cleaner and generally safer. A high-maintenance elevated structure has been replaced by a tunnel, and several traffic bottlenecks have been eased. When you multiply the average time saved on a trip times the number of people affected, you get many multiples of the human lifespan.

In other words, we paid dearly and probably wastefully for the Big Dig, but we got something valuable for it.

California High Speed Rail will cost more, and will deliver nothing. Maybe the ROW will make a good freeway?

njcommuter on May 20, 2012 at 10:58 PM

Note to Hayabusa: Children like to play with trains. Big children like to play with big trains.

njcommuter on May 20, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Been there, done that with Gray Davis. Didn’t help.
Don’t blame me, I voted for Tom McClintock…

OmahaConservative on May 20, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Me, too.

Count to 10 on May 20, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Makes three of us.

BallisticBob on May 20, 2012 at 11:01 PM

Actually as a conservative I like passenger rail travel. Like everything, it used to work really well until the government got involved.

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Bingo

The only affordable high speed rail service in the USA is from DC to Boston via Baltimore and NYC and it sucks overall (Acela)

Don’t get me wrong on a clear day and if I could be guaranteed of no track problems, then the Acela would be my transportation of choice from DC to NYC. The Acela was my first choice (over flying/driving) until it started to break down.

Flying to NYC is a PITA and the train should get you there quicker, however air travel is showing to be more reliable.

Traveling on the Acela is great, however when it has to slow down and stop “due to track problems and signal issues” along the way it is not a reliable method of transport.

F15Mech on May 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM

the 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles

As it happens, Google says LA is 380 miles from San Francisco. I’m sure the rest of your facts are more accurate. And even if they’re not: don’t let facts cloud your judgment.

Time Lord on May 20, 2012 at 11:21 PM

Flying to NYC is a PITA and the train should get you there quicker, however air travel is showing to be more reliable.

F15Mech on May 20, 2012 at 11:10 PM

More reliable my @ss.

I travel from DC to NYC every other week. I’ve tried flying and I’ve tried the train, and for the last three years I’ve been riding Amtrak exclusively. First of all, I like the fact that I can hop on the train without a TSA cavity search. And while every now and then the Acela is 20 minutes late, it’s nowhere near as bad as sitting on the tarmac at Laguardia and waiting two hours for an afternoon thunderstorm to pass.

By the way, flying to NYC is really great if your business is at or near the airport, but on the off chance that you are traveling to NYC to meet some people in Manhattan, you may appreciate the fact that Amtrak takes you to 8th and 34th, rather than north Brooklyn.

I’m just sayin’…

Time Lord on May 20, 2012 at 11:34 PM

California.

“Where money goes to die”

Now THAT’s funny.

dissent555 on May 20, 2012 at 11:39 PM

As a Floridian, I’m grateful to Gov. Scott that we dodged that bullet!

rhbandsp on May 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM

What is it, exactly, with Statists and their choo-choo trains?

I mean, from Mussolini to Kim Jong Il to Joe Biden and Jerry Brown, if there’s one thing that binds them together, it’s a fascination with rail transport. Something about trains, obviously, speaks deeply to some aspect of the leftist psyche, but what is it?

Hayabusa on May 20, 2012 at 10:49 PM

Unlike other forms of transportation, with trains you can go the way the track is laid, and not even contemplate any other route. This is a dream for every other sort of statist control, but exists in purest form with rail.

cthulhu on May 21, 2012 at 1:29 AM

I’m more of a Turnpike driver, but in my trips up to NY I agree with you sentiments. Bad Weather, short on ramps, sharp curves is a recipe for disaster. Reminded my of the time I went to Fishkill, NY and drove the Taconic State Parkway. Couldn’t believe they put a highway through the woods and in peoples backyards. Expected hikers at any moment to cross the road.

reddevil on May 20, 2012 at 10:06 PM

At least the Taconic has an excuse — It was started back in the early 1930s as one of Robert Moses’ pet projects, when Moses had the idea that people would only use his roads heavily for touring with the family on a Sunday afternoon at 40 mph. They’ve straightened out the southern end some, including the removal 40 years ago of everyone’s favorite Westchester County death trap, Hawthorne Circle, but a lot of the highway still shows it’s pre-PA Turnpike roots.

jon1979 on May 21, 2012 at 1:53 AM

Of course Brown is following the Democratic money wasting script. But don’t you forget that Ahhnold supported and campaigned for the bond measure to pass.

flawedskull on May 21, 2012 at 2:11 AM

It’s Deja Vu all over again with Brown.
Different set of circumstances.
Same terrible decisions.
When CA was flush with money he wanted to limit growth
so he
killed/helped kill a relocation for a section of Hwy 101 known as Blood
Alley.
Instead of adding lanes, we sat in traffic in order to appease his wishes.

Now he’s pushing this boondoggle.

Terrible decision maker.

Put the money into infrastructure!

tacodawn on May 21, 2012 at 2:12 AM

As a Floridian, I’m grateful to Gov. Scott that we dodged that bullet!

rhbandsp on May 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM

We still got stuck with SunRail, which is a boondoggle in and of itself.

rickv404 on May 21, 2012 at 3:49 AM

The FEMA camps will be open before these trains ever run…

insidiator on May 21, 2012 at 7:46 AM

Of course the government is responsible for a lion’s share of financial fubars but where railroads are concerned the additional destroyer are UNIONS at ALL LEVELS.Unions building the rail cars and engines. Unions manufacturing the track and all components which go into it. Unions constructing and laying the tracks-hundreds of miles of digging and billions in cost overruns. Also the enormous costs of purchasing of thousands of acres of additional land-all of which will be overpriced. Finally, union employees driving, servicing and maintaining the trains. Think not only of horrendous cost overruns but the unfunded liabilities of pension, medical and other retirement golden parachutes. Think 500 billion for construction and another 500 billion for maintenance and future obligations and kickbacks.

MaiDee on May 21, 2012 at 8:10 AM

O/T, Bee Gees co-founder Robert Gibbs has died.

letget on May 20, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Robert Robin

pain train on May 21, 2012 at 8:45 AM

The best way to encourage rail ridership in a place like California is to invest in comfortable trains. If the alternative is to sit crampled like a sardine in a can to get to LA is four hours, or to lounge around in a piano bar and get to LA is twelve hours, some people, who are not in a hurry, will opt for the latter.

Or, perhaps, run overnight trains. If I need to be in LA first thing in the morning, I can beat my brains out getting to the airport at four in the morning, or I can just head down to the trian station the night before, and spend the night in a comfortable sleeper compartment, followed by a nice breakfast and a shower before arrival.

The problem is, railroads are run by a semi-private entity, so anyhting like luxury or comfort are forbidden.

Haiku Guy on May 21, 2012 at 9:02 AM

I’m a fan of trains, too, but when my son got past the age of 15 I dismantled the layout in the garage and put all the gear in the attic.

If you really must have your choo-choo’s, I’ll send them to you if you pay for the shipping.

PD Quig on May 21, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Transportation experts warn that the 500-mile bullet train from San Francisco to Los Angeles could cost more than $100 billion, though the Governor pegs the price at a mere $68 billion. The state has $12.3 billion in pocket, $9 billion from the state and $3.3 billion from the feds, but Mr. Brown hasn’t a clue where he’ll get the rest.

The state currently has a budget deficit which has grown by $7B just this year.

(Light bulb over head) So, if the state has $12.3 billion in pocket, and a growing budget deficit, why not use the “in-pocket” money to pay down the budget deficit and forget about the train to nowhere?

Steve Z on May 21, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Jerry balanced last year’s budget by claiming he would pull $4 Billion out of his butt.

That worked so well now he’s going to pull $70 Billion out of there (not including interest) to build the rocket train to nowhere.

The governor’s anatomy is truly miraculous.

Ventura Capitalist on May 21, 2012 at 11:17 AM

But… but… rail is more efficient that flying, isn’t it? And mass transit saves fuel, doesn’t it? So this has to be a great idea. It just has to.

The leftist’s mind is simply incapable of evaluating the facts objectively, once a solution has suggested itself to their brains as “obviously” the better choice for any reason, no matter how tangential.

philwynk on May 21, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The problem is, railroads are run by a semi-private entity, so anyhting like luxury or comfort are forbidden.

Haiku Guy on May 21, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Oh, right. This is California.

I used to fly into San Fransisco regularly. I can’t express in printable terms how I felt when I discovered that San Fran had outlawed those comfy mini-buses that ferried me to my rental car at every other major airport I visited, and replaced it with an overcrowded, smelly, uncomfortable full-sized bus that took all rental car customers to a central car rental location.

The bus sported ads at head level that said “This bus saves the city 280,000 gallons of gas a year.” Gallons for which the rental car companies would have been happy to pay in order to make their clients comfortable.

San Fransisco, you pompous, self-satisfied asses, I blow my nose at you…

philwynk on May 21, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Hey folks, especially you Californians – there is now an initiative underway to put this question back on the ballot.

http://revoterail.com

This effort will succeed. The only way we ever get initiatives opposed by the legislature on the ballot in CA is to raise money and pay professional petition circulators to supplement the volunteer effort to gather signatures.

Accordingly, state senator La Malfa and former congressman Radanovich have enrolled some of the most brilliant fundraising minds in CA to insure that this question gets on the ballot.

There is so much energy in CA for this question that the volunteer petition effort will be very significant, and that is one of the reasons for the type of web site we selected: you can volunteer right on this web site, and working volunteers will be managed and coordinated right from the same web site. Volunteers from anywhere are welcome as a major part of the volunteer effort will be online activity.

Yes, it’ll be a long fight to get HSR back on the ballot and then get it defeated, but some of the best conservatives minds in CA are now involved in this project and they won’t rest until we see HSR as a fading dot in our rear-view mirror.

ElRonaldo on May 21, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Are there FEMA camps located along the planned route?

Colony14 on May 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Grrrrr…

I live here in California, and I couldn’t figure out why anyone would vote for Jerry Brown – again. What a clusterfrack.

Xasprtr on May 21, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Oops.
OK, when you get to the cartoons at the link, the one I intended is the one marked 5/23.
(even though we haven’t reached 5/23/12 yet)

itsnotaboutme on May 20, 2012 at 7:05 PM

That isn’t a date. It is image #5 of 23 currently available in Breen’s gallery.

Freelancer on May 21, 2012 at 4:39 PM