California Senate votes to keep high-speed rail

posted at 1:01 pm on July 7, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The good news?  Four Democrats in the California state senate actually flipped and tried to stop the $100 billion project in a state with chronic ten-figure budget holes from going forward.  The bad news?  That’s apparently all of the common sense left in California’s political class:

The state Senate voted by a bare majority today to fund initial construction of California’s $68 billion high-speed rail project.

The approval was uncertain as recently as hours before the vote. With all 15 Republican senators opposed to the measure and several Democratic lawmakers wavering, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg scrambled to muster at least 21 of 25 Democratic votes. …

Sen. Joe Simitian, of Palo Alto, was one of four Democrats to break ranks with his colleagues. Simitian said he supports the vision of high-speed rail, but not the current plan. He said there are “billions of reasons” to oppose it.

Zombie admits at PJ Media to being a train buff — but not an insane debt-load and gargantuan-subsidies buff:

But even I, an unapologetic train lover, shake my head in dismay at this vote. The cost isn’t just high, it’s patently absurd, like a script from a Swiftian satire about political boondoggles.

And the first leg to be completed — which the Obama administration insisted upon, because it’s the only portion of the route that isn’t undergoing environmental challenges — essentially leads from nowhere to nowhere. Perhaps the citizens of Bakersfield will protest at being classified as “nowhere,” but the good people of Madera (whose own State Senator voted against the funding) I’m sure are honest to know that their city has minimal (if any) tourist or business-travel appeal. The number of people who need to take high-speed rail from Madera to Bakersfield can be counted on one finger, while the number of people who desperately need to rocket from Bakersfield to Madera is approximately one less than that.

Will the rest of the line ever be completed in my lifetime? Doubtful. And even if it were, as critics have rightfully pointed out from the beginning, the high-speed rail will cover the same route as innumberable commercial air carriers who travel the exact same distance in less time, for less money, with vastly more frequent departures. What motivation would anyone have to take the train, aside from nostalgic old train buffs in goofy conductors’ caps (present company excluded)?

I’ve written about this misbegotten boondoggle for over three years.  Normally, I’d say that if California voters want the state to go broke, that’s their business — but it’s not, for two reasons.  First, a significant amount of federal funding will go into this project, starting with the three billion dollars California will get now that the legislature has approved construction on the first leg — and that won’t be the last federal money, either.  Second, when California declares bankruptcy, the state will put a lot of pressure on the federal government for a bailout.  The stimulus package that will supply that $3 billion consisted in large part of state bailouts anyway, through block grants that helped California and other states paper over budget gaps in the midst of the financial crisis.  Obama wants another round of these bailouts to keep AFSCME and SEIU jobs from getting axed in a long-overdue resizing of state and local government bureaucracies, as well as desperately needed pension reforms opposed by both unions.

So now California will ignore the reports from their own auditor and the project’s own California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group to throw money into a “fundamentally flaw[ed]” boondoggle that will add $100 billion in costs just for construction alone to California taxpayers, in a state that already can’t pay its bills, all to produce a fixed-rail transport system that is slower than the robust air transit between its Points A and B, which will straddle the state’s worst geographic fault system, and whose first stage will connect two cities that have no need for high-speed travel between them.  Unfortunately, that’s not satire.


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Exactly.

Jaibones on July 7, 2012 at 3:18 PM

We need this. It will really free things up along the Chowchilla- Visalia corridor.

Nosferightu on July 7, 2012 at 3:24 PM

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg scrambled to muster at least 21 of 25 Democratic votes…

Possibly the Law of Unintended Consequences, but one of the arguments Steinberg used to corral the Dem votes was… term limits. CA has them. Given the term limites imposed on legislators, Steinberg appealed to his colleagues by asking how many opportunities they’d have to do something this… monumental, this historical.

Same reason Olympia Snowe gave for releasing Obamacare from Committee, ensuring its ultimate passage: “When history calls, history calls.”

History will call these people fools.

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 3:31 PM

They also voted the anti-AZ-illegal alien law in…because they have all that extra dough laying around, just to be handed out to the entire world of scofflaws.

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I for one am glad that they voted that in. After the betrayal by the Supreme Court on the enforcement mechanisms of the AZ stop and check bill along with Jugears orders to Big Sis to unplug the phone so that anybody caught by stop and check has to be let go, the administration opened Arizona’s borders to all comers. Now that California has adopted their law, hopefully it will funnel those people to that border instead because in addition to open border, they get all sorts of perks as well without the hastle of being asked for papers.

AZfederalist on July 7, 2012 at 2:30 PM

The biggest irony, of course, is that Arizona has an illegal alien invasion problem because CA sealed up its border with Mexico a decade or so ago. And the whole purpose was to drive the illegal crossings east to Arizona.

Big talk here about Arizona boycotts, and anti-AZ stop and check law, but no talk about removing the fence. None at all.

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 3:38 PM

On the bright side if they wait till the ends are completed to buy rolling stock, they can get the latest trains.

One way to pay for it is to put tolls on the main North South roads like I-5, US 101, CA 90 and all direct air travel between the 2 points. Isn’t that how they normally support Passenger rail — stealing from highway funds??

KenInIL on July 7, 2012 at 3:39 PM

Not to worry, I’m sure Moonbeam will arrange for toll booths on the “freeways” in order to tax those who refuse to use his “legacy”.

And Jerry assures us that he has ‘overseas investors’ who can’t wait to plunk money down on this ‘investment in our future’.

Oh, AND IT WILL BE ENTIRELY SELF-SUPPORTING!.

Jerry says so.

GarandFan on July 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

On the bright side if they wait till the ends are completed to buy rolling stock, they can get the latest trains.

KenInIL on July 7, 2012 at 3:39 PM

We made the interesting discovery a couple of weeks ago that as L.A. Metro opens new rail lines, the new lines get recycled cars from the older lines. See, HSR looks a lot cheaper if you don’t budget for rolling stock…

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 3:59 PM

It’s funny that the Dems are so fixated on government railway expenditures when the the national (government-owned) railways of Japan, Britian, and Italy are all privatized now. Italy, in fact, now has high-speed rail competition, which to my knowledge is the first instance of this anywhere in the world.

Here in Italy we have the unreliable former government railroad Trenitalia trying to compete with NTV corporation’s Italo rail, both of which compete in the Rome-Milan corridor. Italo, ironically, was started by former Italian automobile executives.

A major consequence of this competition is lower prices and improved service (Trenitalia has introduced premium business class on its HSR), plus Alitalia, Italy’s flagship airline, has been forced to drastically improve the efficiency and quality of its Rome-Milan air service to keep its flights full, including check-in and security areas reserved for Rome-Milan passengers.

This is how a competitive modern transport network is supposed to work; it’s a shame that socialist European nations have to be the ones to innovate in the area of private rail transportation. But at least we have Amtrak, right?

Ironically, the California HSR could have worked if best practices, private sector investment, and optimal routing were used in the project. Instead, it’s turned into another government pork-barrel project where politicians determine the route and public sector unions line up at the trough.

The only thing the California HSR project will end up doing is destroying the future of HSR in America (unless we privatize Amtrak and sell the Northeast corridor to someone who knows what they’re doing). It’s a shame.

fiatboomer on July 7, 2012 at 4:06 PM

Possibly the Law of Unintended Consequences, but one of the arguments Steinberg used to corral the Dem votes was… term limits. CA has them. Given the term limites imposed on legislators, Steinberg appealed to his colleagues by asking how many opportunities they’d have to do something this… monumental, this historical.

Same reason Olympia Snowe gave for releasing Obamacare from Committee, ensuring its ultimate passage: “When history calls, history calls.”

History will call these people fools.

I would like to call them something else!

LeftCoastRight on July 7, 2012 at 4:12 PM

And you gotta love this one:

High speed rail systems are being touted for their reduced greenhouse gas emissions. This study from UC Berkeley just concluded that if rail ridership met the California High Speed Rail Authority’s mid-range estimates, it would take 70 years for the rail system just to negate the emissions created by its own construction. If rail suffers lower ridership the system would “never” negate its construction emissions. Count on the train being a net contributor to greenhouse gas emissions… just for being built.

Now that it’s no longer a “bullet train” between San Diego and San Francisco (phase one: Madera and Bakersfield??), ridership projections are down 30%, and even those projections are questioned. Who is going to ride this Central Valley Express? Migrant farm workers?

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 4:14 PM

1. This project will never be completed.

2. It will cost over $150 billion to never be completed.

3. Somehow, someway the republicans will be blamed for the cost overruns and it never being completed.

4. Kalifornia is what the entire USA will look like if 0bama gets a second term.

jukin3 on July 7, 2012 at 4:32 PM

The rail roads got out of passenger service a long time ago because they could see they would lose money to the air lines. Methods of travel have changed and been upgraded through the years by the people who need them. This is why covered wagons are in museums and people get there by car.

Kissmygrits on July 7, 2012 at 4:35 PM

They’ll never connect LA – SF, whether from lack of funding, environmental suits, or bankruptcy…

They might as well run the track into the pacific ocean so it will won’t be a train to nowhere.

Not-a-Marxist on July 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Hey, why not California voted to keep the Senate.
(You get to government you deserve)

Gwillie on July 7, 2012 at 4:39 PM

History will call these people fools.

Why wait.

Gwillie on July 7, 2012 at 4:42 PM

1. This project will never be completed.

2. It will cost over $150 billion to never be completed.

3. Somehow, someway the republicans will be blamed for the cost overruns and it never being completed.

4. Kalifornia is what the entire USA will look like if 0bama gets a second term.

jukin3 on July 7, 2012 at 4:32 PM

5. It’s a union payoff.

At least FDR’s Federal money boondoggles actually built real dams, roads, and bridges.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on July 7, 2012 at 4:46 PM

We need a new catchall phrase for this lunacy.

‘Stuck on stupid’ is old and busted, now.
Savage’s long standing ‘mental disorder’ just scratches the surface, and is likewise old and busted.
AP or, heaven forbid, Bishop, or someone has the new boldness term.

I simply can’t wait for Cali to come, hat in hand, to DC. Brother, can you spare a dime?

Does anyone here know, personally, any of these fools or have voted for them?
I’m sure that will be enlightening for me and others. Comments?

This kind of thinking will, and should, get you fired — in a NY minute.

Pols, yeah they kinda suck. Suckage writ large.

Exasperating.
Can’t leave out ‘loathe’. That word describes it, for many of us.

mickytx on July 7, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Next bill…Fully taxpayer subsidized free rides for illegal aliens. You think I’m kidding….

Django on July 7, 2012 at 4:49 PM

They’ll never connect LA – SF, whether from lack of funding, environmental suits, or bankruptcy…

Not-a-Marxist on July 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Absolutely right. Just the purchase and litigation of the right-of-way between the two cities (and others) will be an insurmountable, massively expensive deal breaker. Never mind the actual construction costs.

Django on July 7, 2012 at 4:51 PM

The problem isn’t that you can’t get from LA to SF, but it often takes hours to get from, say, Pasadena to LAX. The traffic, the worst in the world, is simply horrific. For a fraction of the amount needed to build this rail eyesore, in LA we could build a couple of additional freeway lines and relieve the congestion! But we don’t build freeways anymore; that not granola -friendly politically correct.
But we’ll build this rail boondoggle that costs 100 times more, and accomplishes little. Indeed, they’ll probably build much of it, run out of money, and abandon it. It will just be an ugly rotting twisted piles of metal stretching as far as the eye can see, with no budget for cleanup.
http://highspeedboondoggle.com/

anotherJoe on July 7, 2012 at 4:56 PM

And Jerry assures us that he has ‘overseas investors’ who can’t wait to plunk money down on this ‘investment in our future’.

Oh, AND IT WILL BE ENTIRELY SELF-SUPPORTING!. Jerry says so.

GarandFan on July 7, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Great. Give us back our $3 billion, Moonbat.

Jaibones on July 7, 2012 at 4:59 PM

They’ll never connect LA – SF, whether from lack of funding, environmental suits, or bankruptcy…

Not-a-Marxist on July 7, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Absolutely right. Just the purchase and litigation of the right-of-way between the two cities (and others) will be an insurmountable, massively expensive deal breaker. Never mind the actual construction costs.

Django on July 7, 2012 at 4:51 PM

Oh, they’ve long since abandoned the idea of a direct route between San Diego, or even L.A., and S.F., after originally selling it that way to the voters with Proposition 1A. Instead, they’re going for something called a “blended” approach, using the local commuter rail networks of L.A. and S.F. eventually to link up with the Central Valley HSR. In other words, you’ll have to take the slow trains to get to the fast train.

Even allowing TSA the extra time to taste-test the beverage you’re bringing on board, it will be faster and cost about as much to fly.

We need a new catchall phrase for this lunacy.

mickytx on July 7, 2012 at 4:49 PM

Reality displacement disorder? Batshit crazy?

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

OT
INC, if you are out there, take what I said in my response to heart.
Find a way.

…but first, you’ve got to get mad.. (from network) for the rest of you.

bootstraps of self belief, pull yourself up

mickytx on July 7, 2012 at 5:06 PM

This should prove to be an interesting study of how the left thinks, the excuses, the faults and the proof of socialism failure. They never learn.

mixplix on July 7, 2012 at 5:09 PM

Any common sense that lived in California left for Texas and other low-tax states a LONG time ago. It’s a good thing the weather’s nice there. Not much else is.

Philly on July 7, 2012 at 5:22 PM

Reality displacement disorder? Batshit crazy?

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 5:05 PM

let’s let the lines stay open on that. Nice though, de rigueur.

I’m thinking something less phrase and more one word.
Get out your collective thesaurus’ and dictionaries, ladies and gents.
I love words.

So far, for my own part of it:
‘intolerable’ <– nope see post-turtle the 'esteemed' Sen. McConnell
'this will not stand' — heh see above
'wrong thinking is always wrong'
'not going to take it' <– wake up chillens ht Michael Berry

Actually, my examples are more about what to do, and how to aggressively
oppose, than the description.

Maybe, that's what I was after.

I am embarrassed for TX, vis-a-vis, Sheila Jackson Lee. Posterboard prize that she is.

mickytx on July 7, 2012 at 5:28 PM

Be serious. They will put the federal money in the general fund and spend it on other things, meanwhile bonding the construction.

John Mauer on July 7, 2012 at 5:37 PM

That allows the state to draw another $3.2 billion in federal funding.

Dan Richard, chairman of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, which is managing the project, said California would have lost billions of dollars in federal aid…

California entered a contract that called for the federal government to provide money…

California was able to secure more federal aid than expected after Florida, Ohio and Wisconsin turned down money.

“Is there additional commitment of federal funds?

When will these a…wholes stop calling MY MONEY “free Federal dollars”?

GET THE HELL OUT OF MY WALLET!!!!

(Got to go to drug store to renew blood pressure meds)

fred5678 on July 7, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Be serious. They will put the federal money in the general fund and spend it on other things, meanwhile bonding the construction.

John Mauer on July 7, 2012 at 5:37 PM

Yup. And the reason the vote was rammed through before the August recess. End of the day, it was all about grabbing about $2.25 billion in Federal stimulus funds.

Mehdi Morshed, executive director of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, said the infusion of federal dollars would pay for completion of the project’s engineering and environmental reviews and provide a significant amount of seed money to start building the system by September 2012, as required by the federal grant.

(Problems referenced in the linked 2010 article have only worsened. My favorite:

Service doesn’t look feasible in the Central Valley.

So naturally that’s where they’re going to begin construction, 130 miles of track between Madera and Bakersfield. A train from nowhere to nowhere.)

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 6:02 PM

What kind of lunatics are Californians electing and what kind of lunatics are Californians? Liberals are mind-numbingly stupid!

cajunpatriot on July 7, 2012 at 6:06 PM

fred5678 on July 7, 2012 at 6:01 PM

go easy on the pissed part, fred.
You are among the likeminded here, for the most part.
Common sense, my prediction, is about to make a comeback.

A person can choose to believe, dontchaknow.

I’ll go that one better, it will. We’ll all, everyone, be happier for it, too.

… but first you have to get mad…
at the nonsense. Vote, tell your various fence sitters, too.
Wrest the lack of logic, installing logic, as you might to the myopic.

I do believe, it all hangs in the balance.
‘teetering’ is another nice word that represents immediacy.

I can’t bait a hook like Bishop and friends. Suffice.
I’m commenting only that I encourage, in other words.
Words. Powerful.

I have always known, the USA is the greatest place on the planet.
I’m not leaving. I am all in for folding back the tide.

Off to chilling a bit. Nascar. Yay!

My best of thoughts to all of you.

mickytx on July 7, 2012 at 6:26 PM

Just think of the number of satirist jobs that California destroyed!

Niko on July 7, 2012 at 6:33 PM

if mitt wins, he better tell california that they are not
to big to fail. we have 49 other states. let ‘em go broke,
and put a fence around to stop them from crossing our border.

mydogwonthunt on July 7, 2012 at 6:50 PM

For Cripes Sake…

Sacramento has a $16 Billion dollar deficit, but somehow are convinced that instead of trying to get that much to just …oh I don’t know, zero out that debt maybe?…they want to spend and go into the satchel for over 7 times that amount?

I think i did bring this up before, but for Pete’s sake, is there *no* “Investigative Reporter” (snort) willing to show the stones to blare this blatant theft of critical funds from the Treasury?

Sigh. John Stossell, please pick up the Emergency phone…

BlaxPac on July 7, 2012 at 7:30 PM

Am I just behind the curve, or do I remember the good folks of California voting this bullet train proposal down last month… What gives with this thing???

Wow…I’m sure glad my husband and I ski-daddled out of that state eight years ago, leaving skid marks on the border as we left…

StarLady on July 7, 2012 at 8:38 PM

StarLady on July 7, 2012 at 8:38 PM

When the populace says, emphatically ‘NO’, that’s code for “we just
didn’t explain it well enough, yet”. So, full speed ahead (haha — speed)
and damn the torpedoes. Hoping you brought your good sense to wherever you landed.
Leave home without it, ‘dumbass insanity’. CO has it.

Don’t dare have the temerity to step foot in TX with that. You’ll not find a friend, ‘cepting
in Austin which needs a good de-lousing every early morning along 6th street. That’s a fact.

Music capital of the world. Keep it classy, Austinites.

If I have offended some Austin folks, tough. Deal with it.

mickytx on July 7, 2012 at 9:37 PM

I see on greyhound dot com that a ticket between Madera and Bakersfield is $21.15 for an online ticket leaving tomorrow. If ever the train gets built, there’s no way the ticket will be that cheap.

Mark on July 7, 2012 at 10:49 PM

BlaxPac on July 7, 2012 at 7:30 PM

There’s been a few CA journalists on this beat. Dan Walters of the Sac Bee has probably been the most critical. He’s been drowned out by the editorial pages of his own paper, the SF Chron, and LA Times.

It’s fun watching my lefty CA friends squirm watching their leftist utopia turn into Tijuana. Most are still in denial.

Kungfoochimp on July 8, 2012 at 12:05 AM

Let’s look at this from a native Californian’s view. I’m from northern California. Not central California; about 150+ miles north of Sacramento.

I am never going to use the high speed rail and neither are most of the rest of the Californians. $100 billion (and probably a lot more) is too much for any state to absorb. Yeah, yeah I know that it passed by a vote from the Southern Cal folk; but, who really needs it? The California state senate and state representatives have apparently put a lot of work into making sure California has a high speed rail. Why?

If it’s so important to our elected officials then have them pay for it themselves. I know they don’t have $100 billion dollars of their own to throw around; however, they have their salaries and retirement.

Tie this high speed boondoggle to their future. They are, in my opinion, spending California’s money unwisely. If they believe this is a good idea have them invest all they have, current salary, their entire financial portfolio, and their retirement in the high speed rail; they’re asking all Californians to do this. Have them put their money where their mouth is. If they truly believe this to be a good investment they should do this without question. If not, then leave us the #$^% alone.

HHW on July 8, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Jerry Brown and the California voters-DUMB AND DUMBER. But maybe not–IF they can arrange for the “dumb hicks” in flyover country to bail them out of this FUBAR-after all the only “useful service” these “flyover turds” provide is paying taxes for myriad liberal SNAFUS.

MaiDee on July 8, 2012 at 4:39 AM

I know these California voters. There is no hope.

Xasprtr on July 8, 2012 at 10:49 AM

This should prove to be an interesting study of how the left thinks, the excuses, the faults and the proof of socialism failure. They never learn.

Actually, socialism is successful for those on top running things and their favorite cronies to which substantial taxpayer funds are redistributed, along with just enough crumbs redistributed to select voting blocs among the masses to ensure a certain party remains in majority power. After all, how much personal suffering did we witness of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Castro,et al. Its for the people to suffer the consequences of the failures of socialism. Socialism, marxism, communism all have their 1% who have far less concern about the economic conditions of their 99% then our 1% care about ours.

hawkeye54 on July 8, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Jerry Brown and the California voters-DUMB AND DUMBER.

Eventually there will be no more money to redistribute….at which point the DUMBER of the voters won’t be very happy and the consequences of their unhappines won’t be very pretty to experience.

Now would be a very good time for those who aren’t identified and DUMB or DUMBER to leave the state.

It’s going to take a messy fight to save any part of it.

hawkeye54 on July 8, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Big talk here about Arizona boycotts, and anti-AZ stop and check law, but no talk about removing the fence. None at all.

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Maybe when the new Mexican President empties his jails and mental institutions and sends them to Arizona now that the State can’t stop it and the Obama administration won’t, the Arizonians can forward to California the captured people that ICE won’t deport to Mexico. (Don’t laugh, dumping all his criminals and mental patients on the USA was what Castro did and Jimmy Carter let him get away with it.)

KW64 on July 8, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Brown and the legislators who voted in favor of this project claiming it would be finished on budget and run a profit should be obligated to give personal guarantees binding them, their families, their children and grandchildren. Then when it has billions in over-run costs and always runs at a loss, they and their families should be left penniless for generations. If they are so confident about their projections, let them put up their personal wealth as well as that of their children and grandchildren.

Over50 on July 8, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Brown has alwas been a near do well, dimb bulb. You’de think at 70+ he have the wisdom to do something right. Nope. HSR will never happen. Jerry’s boy friends will get rich.

StevC on July 8, 2012 at 3:07 PM

The question is what happens when California goes bankrupt as it surely will. Will their citizens become parasites upon the rest of the nation or will they become destitute and crash their standard of living? The blue states will bankrupt and try to force the red states to feed their disease. The United States will go down because of this financial insanity one state at a time. Liberalism is truly a progressive mental disorder that is destroying the world economy.

volsense on July 8, 2012 at 6:56 PM

If any of it is built, even part of the Bakersfield-Madera line, I’d be shocked. Oh, they’ll do studies out the ying yang, they’ll sign contracts, some of the money will end up with construction companies, perhaps even in a few paychecks. They’ll certainly start with building some pretty nifty looking, high-tech, super energy efficient stations. But an operational train? Even on the first leg?

Please. I read fairy tales to my kids, but even they don’t actually believe them.

kdlee on July 8, 2012 at 7:56 PM

I hope that thing is hit by a 8.5 earthquake when it’s packed to the brim with liberals and going 1,000mph into a tunnel in a mountain made of solid granite.

Wolfmoon on July 8, 2012 at 9:31 PM

I wish Romney would make an ad about this for his campaign. It’s the perfect illustration of how awful the Obama administration truly is. They make a promise in order to secure a vote for a horrific, unpopular health care bill that nobody wants; as a result, the state has to build a literal “train to nowhere” in order to “keep” its federal funds. I don’t think it will be lost on very many people that a result that involves spending billions of dollars to connect Madera and Bakersfield with high-speed rail, with no sure plans to ever make it to SF or LA, is about the dumbest thing imaginable.

This project in ten or twenty years is going to be looked at as one of the most monumental government “fails” of all time. I suspect that patterns of travel and business (videoconferencing, wireless, telecommuting, offshoring, etc.) will have changed so substantially by then that the idea that someone once thought it advisable to spend $100 billion to lay tracks through farm fields in California’s Central Valley will be viewed as about as practical and relevant to the infrastructure needs of the state as the Terra Cotta warriors in China probably were in their time.

Progressive Heretic on July 9, 2012 at 7:47 AM

So now California will ignore the reports from their own auditor and the project’s own California High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group to throw money into a “fundamentally flaw[ed]” boondoggle that will add $100 billion in costs just for construction alone to California taxpayers, in a state that already can’t pay its bills, all to produce a fixed-rail transport system that is slower than the robust air transit between its Points A and B, which will straddle the state’s worst geographic fault system, and whose first stage will connect two cities that have no need for high-speed travel between them. Unfortunately, that’s not satire.

An excellent metaphor for the entire Obama administration.

dissent555 on July 9, 2012 at 8:59 AM

You think they couldn’t possibly be so stupid, but it really isn’t stupidity. It’s pure, undiluted criminal greed.

claudius on July 9, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Now that it’s no longer a “bullet train” between San Diego and San Francisco (phase one: Madera and Bakersfield??), ridership projections are down 30%, and even those projections are questioned. Who is going to ride this Central Valley Express? Migrant farm workers?

de rigueur on July 7, 2012 at 4:14 PM

Maybe it’s the Alta California Express for migrant farm workers from Tijuana to Madera.

If there are lots of empty seats, they can fill them with solar panels from Mexicali bought with Obama-bux in the Chu-box.

Steve Z on July 9, 2012 at 10:35 AM

I left CA last November forever (I was born in a small agricultural town – are there any other kind lol – in the Sacramento Valley, 60 years ago …never lived anywhere but CA, until now). I left for a lot of reasons: but the probability of looming public financial doom due to a political class and electorate with no ability to understand fiscal responsibility was certainly high on the list.

A few weeks ago, a friend phoned and asked me if I’d move back (and offered me a good job at a good salary …and at my age, that’s a big deal btw).

No. Never.

…and it’s not like I escaped living in a blue state (moved to Washington: if you want to stay in the West, it’s a given the state will be at least cyan, and prob’ly azure lol), but the people and the local culture here are at least way, way less crazy than what passes for normal in California.

davisbr on July 10, 2012 at 11:16 AM

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