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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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.

This is a perfect reflection of the Federal pigs. Utterly dysfunctional … utterly incompetent … utterly irresponsible … and utterly out of control.

This nation is on the brink of catastrophe.

OhEssYouCowboys on July 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Hey if they did not spend the federal money they would lose it just as Ohio did when Kasich told Obama to eat it in regards to rail. This is part of our problem with such big government yet so many are so quiet and so stupid.

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Sounds great!!! Until the first high speed derailment that kills 300 people….

Or the next great earthquake that destroys the track to the point it will
have to be abandoned.

The late great California, we hardly knew ya….

redguy on July 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

the state is already heading right for a cliff. might as well do it at high speed. Dream big dreams guys! good luck with all that. lol

exceller on July 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Not one dime…they want this they cant come running to feds with their hands out

Someone in DC needs to say sorry Charlie….

cmsinaz on July 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

So now California will ignore the reports from their own auditor …

They do that a lot in this state – both local and state government. Worse, they keep doing “studies” at a million bucks a pop looking for something to justify this crap.

Blake on July 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

It’s a payoff to the unions.

It’s a non starter legally and financially. Moonbeam would screech ‘eminent domain’. Good luck invoking it on this scale. The court cases would last decades.

CorporatePiggy on July 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Will they have a dining car?

rickyricardo on July 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

This railroad will be a big success when the Californians are forced into 40 mile range electric cars.

Total government control. All part of the plan, folks.

FOWG1 on July 7, 2012 at 1:07 PM

The joke’s on us….we’ll all bail them out.

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM

They’re flat broke, so what’s and billion or so? Left wing, liberal idiots!

rplat on July 7, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Will the rest of the line ever be completed in my lifetime? Doubtful

See BART.

BallisticBob on July 7, 2012 at 1:10 PM

It doesn’t matter how expensive it will be, if you want to create a socialist utopia – and we must – the collective must be connected by a People’s Train infrastructure.

The glorious future of the State can not just be constructed from rousing themes. There must be steel involved.

keep the change on July 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

All anyone can do is hold firm on NO state bailouts. Blue states must held be responsible for their fiscal stupidity.

cartooner on July 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Lunacy.

AZCoyote on July 7, 2012 at 1:16 PM

There is so much scorched earth politics going on right now from CA to DC. The Democrats must know they are done.

txhsmom on July 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Massive blatant plunder, plain and simple.

Kenosha Kid on July 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

The glorious future of the State can not just be constructed from rousing themes. There must be steel involved.

keep the change on July 7, 2012 at 1:14 PM

This is a perfect example of what you’d expect to hear in a Stalinist Utopia … and what you will hear in an Obamuh Utopia.

Good job.

OhEssYouCowboys on July 7, 2012 at 1:17 PM

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.

Good luck with that, Scooter. Going to use your “the private sector is doing fine” argument, again? It’s working out so well for the GOP in political ads.

Wethal on July 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

……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.

Wrong!!!! This has nothing whatever to do with transportation!
The purpose is to preserve and expand the stream of federal money into AFSME and other unions to keep the Democratic Party’s coffers fat with campaign funding. These kleptocrats don’t care one whit about transportation, it’s about the money laundering scheme that the federal system has devolved into. It’s about buying my neighbor’s vote with my money!

Lew on July 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

All anyone can do is hold firm on NO state bailouts. Blue states must held be responsible for their fiscal stupidity.

cartooner on July 7, 2012 at 1:15 PM

What you smoking?

/

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

I can’t possibly fathom any situation where I would benefit from the train even if it was free. If I want to travel from So. Cal to No. Cal I fly. I go to Las Vegas once or twice a year and even though it’s only a 4 hour drive, I fly.

I’m doing everything in my power to get out of this state…and I pay a significant amount income and property tax to this state.

I’m not sure how this will ever be finished or paid when all you will have is illegals left….actually they will leave too, either back home or to another state.

Ditkaca on July 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM

Since this project is so vital to the democratic cause, maybe the public sector unions can invest their retirement funds in the bonds for the project. Of course, if the bonds wind up being worthless, there can’t be any government bailout, the people just have to keep working until they can afford to retire based on other income.

talkingpoints on July 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM

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.

A long as the GOP controls at least one house of Congress I don’t see any more federal money being given to this project.

Mark1971 on July 7, 2012 at 1:21 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

Don’t worry. Rove is currently working the nuclear option.

His group is creating a designer bug that can exist only in the path of the train route.

Doomed before the first shovelful moves.

BobMbx on July 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

I suppose we should never be surprised at the perfidy of liberals. Liberals are repulsed by empirical evidence. Thusly deprived of even the slightest bit reality, any idiotic theory or idea can become fanatical dogma.

Stossel points out that fuel efficiency for automobiles is approaching that of rail for transporting passengers. He was referring to normal speed rail.

PopsRacer on July 7, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Why didn’t they just build a $68 billion dollar gold statue of Dig’em the Sugar Smacks frog?

Wallythedog on July 7, 2012 at 1:24 PM

My sympathies to all conservatives living in California and having to put up with this constantly.

I don’t know what I’d do in a similar situation, if I loved the state as my home, had invested in it, had family, property and a job and saw it being sold down the river by looters every minute of every day. I suppose there will come a breaking point when they — and we — will say “No more.”

PatriotGal2257 on July 7, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Anyone know much of this will be funneled to BART, Caltrain, etc?

BallisticBob on July 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

No worries, California is Too Big To Fail.

Kenosha Kid on July 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

OT, kind of…

DON’T click on the link within the link, at the bottom. Don’t put yourselves into the hands of your oppressive gov’t.

But what do you think of this? What do you know? What do you think this is?

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Why don’t they build the first segment between Los Angeles and San Diego? Why not make use of the fact that California’s biggest two cities happen to be about 100 miles apart. There they would at least be able to provide faster, cheaper service than by plane.

netster007x on July 7, 2012 at 1:27 PM

High speed rail collides with illegal immigration policies.

The future of California

BobMbx on July 7, 2012 at 1:28 PM

My nightmare. Sometime in the next four years California goes belly up and President Romney, in a foolish idea that he could win the state with this sign of bipartisan goodwill, and passes a huge bailout with our Federal tax money!

Teacher in Tejas on July 7, 2012 at 1:29 PM

This thing will never get built. Lawsuits or voters will kill it. This is all theater so CA Dems can say to their union mastrers “Hey man, we tried. Send more checks.”

Mark1971 on July 7, 2012 at 1:30 PM

California…

It’s like watching someone drink themselves to death. What an absolute waste of a beautiful place.

Dongemaharu on July 7, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Great. Let me guess … the FBI harvests the IP addresses of anyone dumb enough to click on it.

In my case, I’m one of the dummies. Did it yesterday.

PatriotGal2257 on July 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

No worries, California is Too Big To Fail.

Kenosha Kid on July 7, 2012 at 1:25 PM

You beat me too it. California down deep knows this truth.

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Will they have a dining car?

rickyricardo on July 7, 2012 at 1:06 PM

Yep, but all they will serve is Peas.

Del Dolemonte on July 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

PatriotGal2257 on July 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

They have those already. Don’t go there and don’t do anything. Don’t supply your phone numbers and etc.

Just share what you guys know about this what I believe is a hoax, or a gov’t scheme.

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

http://www.revoterail.com/

If you’re a Californian and want to kill this thing get the petition here and sign it. This is to put a repeal initiative on the ballot.

Mark1971 on July 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM

They keep talking about building a high-speed railway between Jacksonville and Atlanta or Jacksonville and Orlando. I don’t know why. It’ll just end up like the Jacksonville Skyway. What is it with Leftists and trains?

joekenha on July 7, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Yep, but all they will serve is Peas.

Del Dolemonte on July 7, 2012 at 1:33 PM

And arugula, for the looters in first class.

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Great. Let me guess … the FBI harvests the IP addresses of anyone dumb enough to click on it.

In my case, I’m one of the dummies. Did it yesterday.

PatriotGal2257 on July 7, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Seriously here is a way to make sure your computer does not have the infection.

You can check at this link: http://www.dns-ok.us/

http://www.dcwg.org/detect/

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:38 PM

What is really is about is the unions and another form of welfare….these trains in general have to be supported ad infinitum.

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Play thier game. Demand enviromental impact studies from now till eternity.

wolly4321 on July 7, 2012 at 1:42 PM

OT, kind of…

DON’T click on the link within the link, at the bottom. Don’t put yourselves into the hands of your oppressive gov’t.

But what do you think of this? What do you know? What do you think this is?

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM

This was a malware virus called DNS Changer that some Estonian ring infected computers worldwide with over the last three years. The virus affects how your computer uses DNS entries (such as http://www.hotair.com to access the numeric address assigned to each website (I’m not a techie, so forgive me if this is somewhat simplistic). It’s a way to get your computer to access another (could be fraudelent site) without you knowing it.

Apparently the FBI has had backup servier running for years to help people with the virus maintain their internet service, but these servers are going to be shut down on Monday; the FBI is not doing anything directly to your computer.

There are some sites that will check if your computer is accessing the internet correctly (without downloading or uploading anything) such as dns-ok.us. (I’m not suggesting your visit the site or not, it’s up to you, but I have and it’s just a little green or red light to tell you if your computer looked up the site correctly).

right of the dial on July 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM

If California ever comes hat in hand to the federal government, hat in hand, begging for a bailout from it profligate spending, I have two responses:

1) H*ll no!!!

and

2) Maybe … but only if you lose your status as a state and return to being a territory. That means no representation in congress, no electoral votes, and maybe we’ll split you up into smaller states next time — if there is a next time.

PackerBronco on July 7, 2012 at 1:47 PM

…when will they legislate that they start laying track into Mexico?

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2012 at 1:48 PM

The Future of California………..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FSGeskFzE0s

…..and we’re not far behind as a nation….if we let the Progressives Captain our ship and run us into the iceberg.

PappyD61 on July 7, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Speaking as a disgusted Californian, I will only observe that my fellow voters aren’t just stupid; they’re defiantly, resolutely, implacably stupid.

It’s an astoundingly beautiful place with many virtues, but the stupidity of its electorate has turned California into a wasteland.

Cicero43 on July 7, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Schadenfreude on July 7, 2012 at 1:35 PM

I didn’t give my IP address or phone. In fact, at the time I clicked on it, it was overloaded, so I followed the instructions to check the long way. I got to a page where there was a table that listed various IP addresses and mine wasn’t one of them. There weren’t many listed, so I suspect you are correct when you say it’s a scam. If it were really an actual threat, I would think there would be pages and pages of IP addresses associated with particular providers.

Later on at night, I clicked on it and there was a green icon that indicated my computer was not infected. It seemed too simple, so, as I said, I suspect you’re correct.

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Thanks, yeah that’s what I clicked on. That is also what Schadenfreude is speaking of that might be a scam.

PatriotGal2257 on July 7, 2012 at 1:50 PM

I thought Governor Terminator was going to be centrist.
I thought Governor Moonbeam had more sense than this.

Does anyone believe that this state will ever stop being a problem?

IlikedAUH2O on July 7, 2012 at 1:51 PM

The Stoop Laborer Express, buenos dias!

hillsoftx on July 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

>Hey if they did not spend the federal money they would lose it just as Ohio did when Kasich told Obama to eat it in regards to rail. This is part of our problem with such big government yet so many are so quiet and so stupid.

CW on July 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM

You are lucky. Michigan has a GOP governor determined to build high sped rail between Detroit and nowhere. I used to take the low speed rail from Royal Oak to Detroit. Amtrak had a nice train and nice employees. However, in populated areas the train has to go slow anyway, and it crawled near downtown. The distance from station to work was in city blocks which are longer than residential blocks. You could wait for a shuttle but if you miss the shuttle, forget it. The shuttle itself still left blocks to work.

How many cantalopes can you take on the train? Answer, none, because you start throwing excess weight in the dumpste after the first block. I stopped buying quarts of milk, or canned goods too. My leather briefcase went next, too heavy, replaced with a plastic grocery bag. Then the good clothes, slogging through slush.

Our Gov has the same fools dream as the preceding Dem Gov, that if you build something cute, jobs will flock to the region just to revel in the cuteness – or Coolness.

Jobs do not flock. Businesses make decisions, based on tax, liability and overhead. If HS rail was in demand, businesses would be screaming for it. For every business at the train station selling candy and cigarettes, there are ten down the street who will not gain

California is just feeding the earthquakes

entagor on July 7, 2012 at 1:53 PM

right of the dial on July 7, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Thanks for the info.

PatriotGal2257 on July 7, 2012 at 1:54 PM

You can drive LA to SF in barely over 5 hours. Or fly. Now they want to raise sales tax to, what, 10%? Will it go to 12% if they don’t stop spending on public unions and the endless morass of pointless state agencies. Don’t lend our support to these spending addicts. Enough is enough. Oppose the tax increase.

anotherJoe on July 7, 2012 at 1:54 PM

the money will vanish and barely a track will get laid.

rob verdi on July 7, 2012 at 1:57 PM

High speed handbasket. Next stop: Hell.

Chuck Schick on July 7, 2012 at 1:58 PM

I’m out of the state within a year, enough is enough I’ll leave to the loons and my wife’s daughters all of whom will pay the price for this insanity.

theblacksheepwasright on July 7, 2012 at 2:00 PM

I left California in 1974 (enlisted in the Air Force) and never looked back. It truly is the Granola State. I’ve had to go back once in a while on business, and smile every time I see what those idiots are doing to themselves.

The only problem is that many of them leave California and move to other parts of the country, and try starting the same idiocy all over again. We need to build a wall…

RoadRunner on July 7, 2012 at 2:00 PM

I’m sure FLOTUS has already dictated that only tofu can be consumed on the new California choo-choo.

maubman on July 7, 2012 at 2:00 PM

…when will they legislate that they start laying track into Mexico?

KOOLAID2 on July 7, 2012 at 1:48 PM

They already have one!

Del Dolemonte on July 7, 2012 at 2:00 PM

it is not about trains, it is about $$$$$$$$.

“The bill authorizes the state to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter-approved bonds that includes $2.6 billion to build an initial 130-mile (210-kilometer) stretch of the high-speed rail line in the Central Valley. That will allow the state to collect another $3.2 billion in federal funding that could have been rescinded if lawmakers failed to act Friday.” In summary, just passing the bill, gives California a $3.2 billion federal bailout while the actual use of funds may or may not ever appear (our money is on the latter). If still confused think Greece and Germany, because Federal tax collections were just used to give California a very fungible cash injection. Where the money ends up now is anyone’s guess.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/cash-strapped-california-votes-68-billion-monorail-get-federal-bailout

socialists need opm from somewhere…and your pocket is just fine

the story is about socialists and crooks and crooked socialists at the state/fed level who love to preen around…telling everyone they meet that they are the masters of the universtiy…when in fact they are just greedy little pols who would fit in very well in China…where they could be in charge of building a vacant city or two.

There are those who sadly still have their Math for Idiots textbooks lying around:

Senate Republicans blasted the decision, citing the state’s ongoing budget problems.

“It’s unfortunate that the majority would rather spend billions of dollars that we don’t have for a train to nowhere than keep schools open and harmless from budget cuts,” Republican Sen. Tom Harman said in a statement.

Republican Sen. Ted Gaines said the project would push California over a fiscal cliff. “It will require endless subsidies and will blast a massive hole into our budget,” he said in a statement.

Cliff… Shpliff. It seems Mr. Gaines has not yet figured out that the only way to survive in a post-Keynesian limit world, in which everyone is bankrupt, is to dig a deeper hole and get as much of whatever bailout money is available first.

Yet don’t blame California for this mathematical abortion: the fault lies with the Federal government for creating perverse spend, spend, spend incentives.

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 if the Senate fails to pass the bill before adjourning Friday for a monthlong recess.

Richard said California entered a contract that called for the federal government to provide money for building the Central Valley segment if the state also put up its share.

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

r keller on July 7, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Madera to Bakersfield… Madera is just north of Fresno about 15 miles north so its about 125 miles of tracks for a conservative estimate of $70,000,000,000 lets see 70,000,000,000 / 125 = $560,000,000 per mile. Puddle-hopper airline from Fresno airport to Bakersfield Airport (already built) $350… there arent even direct flights from fresno to bakersfield… no one needs it. This is way beyond pathetic!

DustInCa on July 7, 2012 at 2:02 PM

The answer to how to fund the high speed rail project is simple. Dedicate a few of the rail cars for “medical” marijuana users and sell the weed on board. California has a plethora of “medical” marijuana users who I’m sure would take great joy in toking from L.A. to San Fran. They can name the train the Choom Express in honor of our Dear Leader.

maubman on July 7, 2012 at 2:08 PM

This is SO stupid. High speed rail makes sense in countries where the population is concentrated into cities and suburbs don’t even exist (like China). It makes no sense in the USA.

The Rogue Tomato on July 7, 2012 at 2:08 PM

If Republicans would stop being the party of ‘no’, talking down the economy with irrelevant topics like deficits, this rail would be a great source of income for the state.

Love,
The MSM

Liam on July 7, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Gov. Moonbeam’s own San Sebatian Line?

Train to nowhere, indeed. The environmentalists will shut down construction to enough portions of the route that it will never be completed. Meh.

iurockhead on July 7, 2012 at 2:14 PM

There’s a comparable clusterfark going on out in O’bama Land, with the Honolulu Monorail.

The latest is that despite the City’s claims that there will be “no additional cost” for the Rail Authority that oversees this boondoggle, in reality the taxpayers out there are now funding it to the tune of $22 million a year.

Last week, the Rail Authority submitted its request to O’bama for a $1+ billion dollar grant to get this thing off the ground.

In addition the Honolulu City Council just authorized an Audit of the HART (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation) after they discovered that group has already spent $2 million a year over the past 2 years to have 24 different PR firms shill for their project.

All this is going on at the same time that the Hawai’i Department of Education announced the elimination of over 100 public school bus routes in the State. That move will save just a bit more than the $4 mil the Monorail PR firms got.

Your 2012 Democrat Party in action!

Or should I say

Monorail! Monorail! Monorail!

Del Dolemonte on July 7, 2012 at 2:14 PM

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.

In a rare moment of honesty it was revealed by noted LA Times leftist George Skelton that the Browndoggle would begin construction in the central valley due to an Obamacare vote bribe:

“But the Obama administration has threatened to withdraw the $3.3 billion in federal money if dirt doesn’t begin flying first in the San Joaquin Valley. That’s largely because of a commitment to Rep. Jim Costa, a moderate Blue Dog Democrat from Fresno, according to several Democratic sources who requested anonymity.

They say Costa voted for the president’s healthcare reform after being assured that rail construction would begin in his district.”

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jul/05/local/la-me-cap-bullet-train-20120705

A minor point, and the lack of environmental issues helped too I’m sure. All moot however. Dan Richard (HSR Chair) admitted this week that HSR is a mirage, and the money will be spent on local transit (BART/SF Central Subway/etc). Didn’t stop the communists from voting it in. I personally don’t believe the 4 dems who voted nay were against the project. I think they were given a pass by Senate Pro Tem Steinberg. They are likely up for election this year.

One of the “nay” votes actually admitted in his speech before the vote that he owed his soul to the unions and he hoped they wouldn’t punish him.

The comments on Sac Bee are not kind…esp. regarding Brown’s proposed tax increases. “Apparently the state has plenty of money” sums them up.

Kungfoochimp on July 7, 2012 at 2:15 PM

In addition the Honolulu City Council just authorized an Audit of the HART (Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation) after they discovered that group has already spent $2 million a year over the past 2 years to have 24 different PR firms shill for their project.

They play ads for it on tv over here all the time. Same as CA HSR – using tax dollars to shill for more tax dollars.

Kungfoochimp on July 7, 2012 at 2:17 PM

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

Other than that, what’s wrong with it?

BacaDog on July 7, 2012 at 2:17 PM

They’re ignoring their own voters, too. 60% of the state does not want this project. And, the money allocated doesn’t even put a train on the rails. It is for construction of rail bed and stations only. It does not include any funding for trains. The stations will sit unused for an estimated 10 years before money comes in to put trains on the route and in that time they will likely be stripped clean by the metal thieves and have to be rebuilt.

Add to that the “lawfare” that the project will undergo in every county and every town along the route and I believe it is safe to say that no human alive today will ever see a train on that route from LA to SF.

crosspatch on July 7, 2012 at 2:19 PM

The spending of money doesn’t need a reasonable point for politicians. The point is spending the money.

Liam on July 7, 2012 at 2:19 PM

So, when will Fish & Wildlife and the EPA shut this choo-choo down for adversely impacting the fruity sphincter bird’s habitat??

locomotivebreath1901 on July 7, 2012 at 2:21 PM

In an ironic twist of fate can we sell CA to China to cover our debt to them and after they get settle in CA the chinese can build the rail using american labor camps?

smitty41 on July 7, 2012 at 2:22 PM

The democrats are completely in charge in California and their majority will only increase next year, there never was any doubt that the high speed train to hell would be approved along with the appropriate measures to decrease individual transportation options.

The left is enacting full blown liberalism with nothing to stop it.
The citizens who would have left or are leaving. Fewer and fewer are paying for more and more. Look whats left of the golden state now turned to baby sh!t brown if you want a clue for what Obama has in mind.

The four that flipped I understand are up for election though I doubt there’s going to be enough fallout to matter between brainwashed and lazy loons to the politically connected wealthy there isn’t enough GOP votes to fill an empty piss pot.

Padrons and peons that’s California’s near future.

Speakup on July 7, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Ed, Ed, Ed you apparently don’t understand how politics works at the state level. First, there is no such thing as a boondoggle. There are only pay-offs that come due before the next election vs pay-offs the come due after the next election. Obviously the former are much preferred to the later. Look at it from a state senator’s point of view, he can vote on giving money to his supporters right now or not. If he gives money to them now, he is a hero, if the project implodes sometime in the distance future, so what? Either they can off-load the blame for it’s failure on those evil Republicans who put a pre-mature stop to it (it’s always per-mature), or more probably in a state like California, they can depend on kicking the can far enough down the road to have retired by the time everyone realizes what a crazy idea it was in the first place.

Fred 2 on July 7, 2012 at 2:26 PM

At least they’re going to use Rearden Steel, right?

Fogpig on July 7, 2012 at 2:27 PM

The undisputed leader of the lunatic-left d-cRAT socialist club of morally, ethically, socially, politically and fiscally bankrupt states is the peoples republic of california. This cesspool of a state is blindly careening down the lunatic-left “Road to Hell” and, even worse, it is fully committed to flushing the entire US down the toilet with themselves.

America must rid itself of this dung heap, so let’s all pray for The Big One.

TeaPartyNation on July 7, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Why didn’t they just build a $68 billion dollar gold statue of Dig’em the Sugar Smacks frog?

Wallythedog on July 7, 2012 at 1:24 PM

They believe in separation of church and state.

and it wouldn’t produce enough union jobs.

WhatNot on July 7, 2012 at 2:29 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

Other than that, what’s wrong with it?

BacaDog on July 7, 2012 at 2:17 PM

Fixed route, on the ground, making it much easier target for terror attack compared to airline travel.

Kenosha Kid on July 7, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Fortunately, there are a few sane minds left in CA. Minds like Former Congressman George Radanovich and State Senator Doug La Malfa.

They started http://ReVoteRail.com to put HSR back on the CA ballot where this time it will surely get defeated.

At http://ReVoteRail.com you can order petitions to get the question put back on the ballot, and you can contribute to the cause.

Many even in CA do not realize it, but no question has ever gotten on the ballot in CA against the wishes of the legislature without paid petition circulators – they only make close to minimum wage, but you need a lot of them in front of nearly every Costco and Home Depot (etc.). Some really great fundraisers are involved with ReVoteRail.com but contributions form the general public are sorely needed, too.

John and Ken from LA’s largest drive-time AM show have been going ballistic over this issue and have been directing listeners to ReVoteRail.com for petitions and donations.

Judging by the response from CA citizens since ReVoteRail.com got started, we are going to be voting on HSR again, but your help is definitely needed if you are so inclined.

ElRonaldo on July 7, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Glad I live in Texas

workingclass artist on July 7, 2012 at 2:40 PM

In the medium to long term California could be doing our once-great country a favor: By highlighting so boldly the idiocy of liberalism that middle of the road voters wake up before it truly is too late to save America.
The simple first step to salvaging California is to close and seal the border. That happens also to be a good thing for our country, and it should be one of the first steps a new and thoughtful American-loving president should take.
As I have written here before, but for our kids and grandkids living here my wife and I would move out.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 7, 2012 at 2:40 PM

And there not even going to use Reardon Metal!

hadsil on July 7, 2012 at 2:42 PM

At least they’re going to use Rearden Steel, right?

Fogpig on July 7, 2012 at 2:27 PM

Nothing will be used that cuts into the union’s margins and the libs kickbacks.

Speakup on July 7, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Make that “they’re”
Oops!

hadsil on July 7, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Liberals missing out on a golden opportunity here:
Why not route it between LA and Mexico City instead?
- open borders
- cheap labor
- money laundering expertise
- seismically just as stupid
- no need to buy ROW through Palo Alto
- SF hates LA anyway
- Social Justice, or something

Kenosha Kid on July 7, 2012 at 2:44 PM

Fortunately, there are a few sane minds left in CA. Minds like Former Congressman George Radanovich and State Senator Doug La Malfa.

They started http://ReVoteRail.com to put HSR back on the CA ballot where this time it will surely get defeated.

At ReVoteRail.com you can order petitions to circulate in CA, and you can contribute to the cause.

Many even in CA do not realize it, but no question has ever gotten on the ballot in CA against the wishes of the legislature without paid petition circulators – they only make close to minimum wage, but you need a lot of them in front of nearly every Costco and Home Depot (etc.). Some really great fundraisers are involved with ReVoteRail.com but contributions form the general public are sorely needed, too.

John and Ken from LA’s largest drive-time AM show have been going ballistic over this issue and have been directing listeners to ReVoteRail.com for petitions and donations.

Judging by the response from CA citizens since ReVoteRail.com got started, we are going to be voting on HSR again, but your help is definitely needed if you are so inclined.

ElRonaldo on July 7, 2012 at 2:49 PM

On-topic coincidence:
I just this moment was finally hung up on by a woman calling from some solar energy company telling me that they have a program for installing “free” solar heating systems for homeowners. About 3 minutes of my questions regarding “free” and where the money came got her to wish me a happy weekend and hang up. Before she hung up she told me that it was a state program, that she did not know where the money came from, and that she did not care where the money came from. She had a barely understandable hispanic accent; but she did have a job and was working it, for which I give her credit.

GaltBlvnAtty on July 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Liberals/progressives are bad at math, science, and history. Other than that, though, they say they’re smart.

Special Forces Grunt on July 7, 2012 at 2:51 PM

Wow. There is dumb and there is completely around the pipe INSANE.

dogsoldier on July 7, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Just unfricking believable; even for California! Never-mind that the tracks run parallel to the San Andreas fault as well, so there will be plenty of occasions to perform track repairs as well.

skatz51 on July 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Awesome!

1. Can’t wait for Californicate to go completely-dead-can’t-pay-the-teachers-firemen-cops-or-lifeguards broke; and

2. Another dream-come-true RNC campaign commercial to be used to figuratively beat O’Bonehead bloody with this fall (I was going to say beat him senseless, but that ship has already sailed).

The way I see it, when CA has to lay off most of their teachers, firemen, and cops, and cut state aid to virtually all sources, then the people who have been screaming the loudest (conservatives) will have a whole crop of potential new listeners.

No, the kook fringe will never listen…of course not. But some of the nitwit apolitical types will. And when the fires just burn, and the cops don’t answer 911 calls, and the schools are closed and the pension checks bounce, and the gangs are running wild all over the state, and the construction projects are stop — wait, that was silly; what construction projects? — and the illegals can’t be deported … yeah, some of the vast, stupid political middle will suddenly get it.

Can’t wait. Spend all you want, Jerry, you delirious moonbat. We’ll control the House in November no matter what else, and we ain’t giving you effing nitwits a penny. Burn for all we care.

Jaibones on July 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Burn for all we care.

Jaibones on July 7, 2012 at 2:58 PM

We had to Burn the Village in order to Save It. Again.

Kenosha Kid on July 7, 2012 at 3:13 PM

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