California: By the way, that bullet train isn’t actually going to be as fast as we said it would be

posted at 5:21 pm on March 28, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

When California first put the issue of building a high-speed bullet train between Los Angeles and San Francisco before voters, Gov. Jerry Brown made all sorts of nifty-sounding promises about how efficient, convenient, and fiscally sound a choice the rail line would be for Californians. All of those promises have more or less turned out to be a sham by now, as the train’s costs have exploded and its deadlines pushed way back, and now it appears that that less-than-three-hour ride Californians were originally promised… well, probably isn’t. Via the LA Times:

Regularly scheduled service on California’s bullet train system will not meet anticipated trip times of two hours and 40 minutes between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and are likely to take nearly a half-hour longer, a state Senate committee was told Thursday.

The faster trips were held out to voters in 2008 when they approved $9 billion in borrowing to help pay for the project. Since then, a series of political compromises and planning changes designed to keep the $68-billion line moving ahead have created slower track zones in urban areas.

But Louis Thompson, chairman of the High-Speed Rail Peer Review Group, a state-sanctioned panel of outside experts, testified that “real world engineering issues” will cause schedules for regular service to exceed the target of two hours and 40 minutes. The state might be able to demonstrate a train that could make the trip that fast, but not on scheduled service, he told lawmakers. If public demand for the service supports additional investments, travel times could be improved after the currently planned system is built, he said.

Sure, the train’s travel times could be improved “if public demand for service supports additional investments,” except that Brown’s administration doesn’t even know where they’re going to get the money for the project as-is. Sources of funding have been disappearing as the train has been exposed for the epically terrible investment that it is, and the its general unpopularity is growing — all before they’ve even started laying track.

Weirdly enough, though, Gov. Brown — who is going for reelection and a fourth term as California governor — isn’t backing away from the project in the slightest, and that… doesn’t actually seem to be hurting his chances. At all. As BuzzFeed points out:

The project faces legal troubles and opposition for mutating beyond what voters OKed. A petition for extraordinary writ was filed Friday in the Sacramento Superior Court, asking to expedite a decision on whether the California High-Speed Rail Authority is legally compliant with the six-year-old plans. Oral arguments begin May 20.

“It’s certainly my belief this project is a financial disaster in waiting, but certainly the governor doesn’t see it that way,” Dave Schonbrunn, president of Transdef, a pro-high-speed rail group opposed to the current project, told BuzzFeed.

Schonbrunn called it a “sinking ship.” Still, he doesn’t believe Brown’s support will hurt his reelection chances because, “He’s otherwise doing an OK job and the state’s not otherwise in crisis.” Brown’s approval rating hit a record high in January, with 60% of likely voters approving of the job he’s doing, a Public Policy Institute of California poll found.

Huh. I suppose it’s true that the state isn’t “otherwise in crisis” — because honestly, who really considers a mounting “wall of debt” and a slew of unfunded pension liabilities a crisis? Nobody in la-la-land, that’s for sure. Democratic supermajority, for the win.


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So… Just a regular train eh…

oscarwilde on March 28, 2014 at 5:28 PM

It’s like deja vu all over again.

Yogi Berra

corona79 on March 28, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Ayn Rand was correct, again.

Murphy9 on March 28, 2014 at 5:30 PM

The CA Bullet Train is Obamacare on wheels.

hepcat on March 28, 2014 at 5:32 PM

OT:

Russia’s Vladimir Putin has telephoned President Barack Obama to discuss the US proposal for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Ukraine, the White House says.

Mr Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing, his spokesman said in a statement.

The two countries’ foreign ministers would meet soon to discuss the next steps, he added.

kcewa on March 28, 2014 at 5:33 PM

It may not be fast but I’d bet all the “right” people are on the fast tract to riches.

Dr. Frank Enstine on March 28, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Why do we need it ?

I just saw a program on H2 that said there are already a system of high speed trains that use tunnels under the ground which traverse the entire US.

J_Crater on March 28, 2014 at 5:36 PM

With its constant anti-gun stance I’m surprised that California actually calls it a Bullet Train.

HiJack on March 28, 2014 at 5:37 PM

You can’t fix STUPID! And man, do we have a lot of STUPID voters here in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.

GarandFan on March 28, 2014 at 5:38 PM

You can’t fix STUPID! And man, do we have a lot of STUPID voters here in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.

GarandFan on March 28, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Aint that the damned truth…

oscarwilde on March 28, 2014 at 5:39 PM

From $9 billion to $68 billion??? Can NOTHING embarrass them?

Blaise on March 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM

In Seattle, our government boondoggle is the cutting a tunnel under downtown to allow the removal of a two level traffic viaduct along the waterfront. The official budget estimate was based on 1% of completed engineering of the design. Of course costs continue to rise and now the boring machine is stuck in the hole. The money spent by now could have repaired/rehabilitated the viaduct and made it seismically sound.

When you hear an cost and schedule estimate on a government construction project, double it as a minimum and you’ll be closer to the final figures.

Mallard T. Drake on March 28, 2014 at 5:44 PM

Why do we need it ?

I just saw a program on H2 that said there are already a system of high speed trains that use tunnels under the ground which traverse the entire US.

J_Crater on March 28, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Could you link, please? I have never heard of this.

Theophile on March 28, 2014 at 5:46 PM

In Seattle, our government boondoggle is the cutting a tunnel under downtown to allow the removal of a two level traffic viaduct along the waterfront. The official budget estimate was based on 1% of completed engineering of the design. Of course costs continue to rise and now the boring machine is stuck in the hole. The money spent by now could have repaired/rehabilitated the viaduct and made it seismically sound.

When you hear an cost and schedule estimate on a government construction project, double it as a minimum and you’ll be closer to the final figures.

Mallard T. Drake on March 28, 2014 at 5:44 PM

My brother works for Washington’s DOT, and he told me that one design that wasn’t offered as an option was a beautiful suspension bridge where the Alaskan Way viaduct was. It would have looked spectacular with Seattle behind it, but the city whores wanted a tunnel.

HiJack on March 28, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Thank goodness the Democrats are in control of CA. Can you imagine what a cluster the state would be with a conservative Republican majority at the helm?

There would be excellent roads, a superb educational system, tuition free community college, very low tuition public universities, fewer illegal immigrants and the envy of the nation.

What? That’s the way it was in the 50′s, 60′s and into the 70′s, who knew?

Neitherleftorright on March 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

What? That’s the way it was in the 50′s, 60′s and into the 70′s, who knew?

Neitherleftorright on March 28, 2014 at 5:51 PM

“California here I come…” and Route 66… I remember.

Kaffa on March 28, 2014 at 5:58 PM

Nor will it come in on schedule (if ever) nor on budget. The unions will make tens of billions and the recycler thieves will make millions uprooting the useless infrastructure.

jukin3 on March 28, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Trains….because high speed airline travel is soooo 20th century!

elowe on March 28, 2014 at 6:08 PM

Next they’ll tell us that this Bullet train will not be able to run on land as previously the contractors said,
it will have to fly .
So Democrats contractors will need more money !

burrata on March 28, 2014 at 6:09 PM

What? That’s the way it was in the 50′s, 60′s and into the 70′s, who knew?

Neitherleftorright on March 28, 2014 at 5

Hey those were the days when CA was not a taxpayer funded mexican gangland , or as Demoncraps call it —the bad old days .

burrata on March 28, 2014 at 6:14 PM

Can NOTHING embarrass them?

Blaise on March 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM

Yes, they are embarrassed at the $68 billion dollar price tag, embarrassed that they weren’t able to jack it up to the $168 Billion dollars that they wanted.

oscarwilde on March 28, 2014 at 6:20 PM

It’s gonna take longer, cost more and go slower than promised.

Big government in action.

myiq2xu on March 28, 2014 at 6:22 PM

California: By the way, that bullet train isn’t actually going to be as fast as we said it would be

Typically limp, Socialist Mafia. Promise much, deliver far less than was promised and steal a lot.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 28, 2014 at 6:23 PM

$68 billion?
LA to SF?
Something like $170 million per mile. And since they haven’t layed the first rail, I’d say the $68B is a very LOW BALL figure.
AND
It is going to be a LONG time before the Republicans get to run anything above an animal refuge in Kalifornia.
These Bucket Train Contracts will fill the Gimmedat Coffers for decades to come. Kind of like King Putt’s Stimulus Package … what ever happened to that $800 billion anyway? We so soon forget.

Missilengr on March 28, 2014 at 6:28 PM

Or as existent as we said it would be.

Chuck Schick on March 28, 2014 at 6:38 PM

I was born in California but I, like many, simply mourn for my former state. Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

Mojave Mark on March 28, 2014 at 6:45 PM

You can’t fix STUPID! And man, do we have a lot of STUPID voters here in the People’s Republik of Kalifornia.

GarandFan on March 28, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Regardless of what the Democrats do, Kalifornians keep electing them, and after amnesty things will be even worse.

bw222 on March 28, 2014 at 6:59 PM

Perhaps they’ll finance it by selling Water-Futures on the rainfall we haven’t been receiving?

Another Drew on March 28, 2014 at 7:03 PM

The ‘good’ news? The trip to total fiscal insolvency may be a tad slower!

vnvet on March 28, 2014 at 7:03 PM

High-speed train wreck

Capp on March 28, 2014 at 7:08 PM

Whew. I’m glad. I was getting a little stressed out about the whole “bullet” thing anyway. Too violent. Plus, everyone is always in a rush. We need to slow down some. Work, work, work. How ’bout we chillax and enjoy the view? Dude, which car is the pot bar, anyway?

BKeyser on March 28, 2014 at 7:15 PM

The thing is this: the parts of the state that started to crawl out of shithole status back in the dotcom days – Stockton, the Inland Empire – sunk back into it, but the parts of the state that have been the moneymakers for the state government for the past thirty years are doing fine.

Okay, the SoCal aerospace/defense business started ebbing after Vietnam and took a steep dive with the fall of the Berlin Wall, and Hollywood’s gradually hollowing out with most of the day-to-day work moving elsewhere, and porn’s gone ’cause no one wants to see a condom, and maybe lots of outfits write firmware in Silicon Valley but no one makes the hardware there, but there’s still a fair amount of money on the coast.

JEM on March 28, 2014 at 7:23 PM

but the [Seattle] city whores wanted a tunnel.

HiJack on March 28, 2014 at 5:48 PM

Damn, I would LOVE to be in a tunnel in an earthquake! It would be just like that Stallone movie, Daylight – or something.

Sorry I’m going to miss that.

Pless1foEngrish on March 28, 2014 at 7:47 PM

“….real world engineering issues” will cause schedules for regular service to exceed the target of two hours and 40 minutes.

I am not surprised at this. What surprises me is that Democrats could locate the star-gate between their world and the real one.

Ray Van Dune on March 28, 2014 at 10:04 PM

You can drive from LA to SF in 5 1/2 hours. You know what, you might as well just take a bus instead of the future “bullet” train, or snail train. What a joke.

anotherJoe on March 28, 2014 at 11:46 PM

Probably won’t run on time either.

Herb on March 29, 2014 at 9:35 AM

From $9 billion to $68 billion??? Can NOTHING embarrass them?

Blaise on March 28, 2014 at 5:40 PM

No, because they are not spending their own money–it’s your money, so anything goes.

Even a five year old common core victim who thinks 1 + 1 = 11 could have told you that the Bullet Train wouldn’t go as fast as they claimed, wouldn’t have the ridership they claimed, wouldn’t be profitable in a hundred years, and would put California and the rest of use paying federal income taxes further in debt.

If you want a good laugh, just read the original justification for approving the Bullet Train. But don’t be drinking anything when you do or you’ll short out your keyboard.

Of all the high speed rail systems in the world, only two segments are profitable: the Paris to Lyon segment in France and the Tokyo to Kyoto segment in Japan. The rest have been and will continue to rely on increasing government subsidies to stay operational.

And the population centers for Tokyo/Kyoto and Paris/Lyon are many times larger than any two population centers served by high speed rail in the US.

It’s not rocket science. The probably of high speed rail ever becoming profitable is pretty close to zero; and the government bureaucrats know it. Just follow the tax dollars and you’ll know everything there is to know about building Bullet trains.

BMF on March 29, 2014 at 9:53 AM

Their need for additional investments never ends.

Kissmygrits on March 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Seattle wanted their tunnel because Boston has one. Just pray it’s not the same people who did the Big Dig working on this.

Kissmygrits on March 29, 2014 at 10:08 AM

What else would you expect from the largest gathering of low information voters in any state in the Union. They voted for this hippy from the 60′s and this is what you get. Delusional dreams.

regmgr on March 29, 2014 at 10:31 AM

Weirdly enough, though, Gov. Brown — who is going for reelection and a fourth term as California governor — isn’t backing away from the project in the slightest, and that… doesn’t actually seem to be hurting his chances. At all.

It’s a too-too twain! And it’s bwue and yewow and we can stand by the twacks and wave at it when it zooms by! That’s why it’s okay.

PD Quig on March 29, 2014 at 11:21 AM

Just for the heck of it, I looked up how far it is from Frisco to LA. Bing says 382 miles. Let’s say, for argument’s sake it takes 3 hours. That’s still pretty damn fast, especially compared to how fast the train goes now.

There are PLENTY of reasons to not like or support this, but I don’t see this adjustment to how long it will take as one.

NavyMustang on March 29, 2014 at 5:05 PM

I surly hope that the $$$ people provide enough funding for additional rail at each end to allow the train to slow down from light speed.

Hell, make it one great big circle, like the Electron Collider in Europe with only two stops L.A. and Vegas.

MSGTAS on March 30, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Of course it runs slower. Gotta build curves around all those mountains, and trains might fall off if they take the curves too fast. But don’t let that bother the Kool-Aid drinkers when you first propose the project.

Steve Z on April 1, 2014 at 3:47 PM