You’re welcome, America: California’s high-speed rail will need a federal bailout

Posted by: Phineas on March 29, 2013 at 6:36 pm

**Posted by Phineas

"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

I just knew it would come to this:

When California finishes tapping out the taxpayers in its state to pay for its nonsensical high speed rail, it will ask the taxpayers of other states to chip in, according to a new Government Accountability Office report requested by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The GAO report found that the federal government will have to give California an astonishing $38.7 billion in order for the state to complete the idiotic project, footing more than half of the total cost.

Not that California will ever see much, if any, of that money; with Republicans controlling the House and the public increasingly concerned over ludicrous levels of federal spending (and borrowing), there’s going to be heavy pressure not to give Sacramento a dime.

And I call that a good thing.

My fellow Californians passed Prop 1A in a fit of bong-born enthusiasm in 2008, but, since then, public opinion has soured to the point that a majority would just cancel it, largely due to skyrocketing costs. Here are five good reasons this boondoggle should be tossed in dumpster, including the fact that rider numbers –and thus the ticket sales needed to pay off the debt we’re incurring– will never match projections.

(Which is surprising. You’d think millions would flock to ride that opening stretch from Bakersfield to Madera.)

Thankfully, Representative McCarthy and his Republican colleagues are working to block any federal aid to this folly. It’s sad when a federal representative has to work against his state government, but, in this case, call it “tough love.” If Governor Brown and the dreamland progressives in the legislature can’t see the need to kill this lunatic project, someone will have to do it for them. Sadly, my guess is this will only happen after we’ve taken on tons more debt pursuing it.

Why is the left so obsessed with fixed rail? Or does “progressive” really mean “the future as seen from the 1930s?”

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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9 Responses to “You’re welcome, America: California’s high-speed rail will need a federal bailout”


  1. Ever heard of the Wright brothers, Kitty Hawk, or to strike a blow for equality, Amelia Earheart, or the Tuskegee Airmen?

  2. Joy says:

    Everyone knew from day one that Federal funds would be required. After all, CA is the USA’s Greece. One of the really funny thing about California’s high-speed rail was when Governor Brown–known as one of this country’s most devoted environmentalist–unilaterally waived the requirement for an Environmental Impact Study for the high-speed rail. Evidently, such studies are for the “Little People” — not the Progressive political elites.

  3. Carlos says:

    “… largely due to skyrocketing costs.”

    Ya know, I’ve been walking this earth the better part of seven decades, and I’m not real sure I’ve ever seen an accurate forecast of a project’s cost from a government agency, from local to federal.

    Which leads me to the conclusion that all government accountants are educated in the Obama School of New Mathematics and the Slo Joe School of Hiding Theft.

    Those in government who come up with the “approved” projected costs of all government or government-backed projects, from the actual accountants to the people who approve such stupidity, should be held responsible (out of their own pockets) for any and all cost overruns. It might make them a tad bit more accurate in their assumptions and projections.

  4. Mary Tracy says:

    How Southwest Airlines Killed HSR in Texas — From Wikipedia:

    The plan was to connect the “Texas Triangle” (Houston – Dallas/Fort Worth – San Antonio) with a privately financed high speed train system which would quickly take passengers from one city to the next at prices designed to compete with or beat other transport options.

    Funding for the project was to come entirely from private sources, since Texas did not allow the use of public money. The original estimated cost was $5.6 billion, but the task of securing the necessary private funds proved extremely difficult.

    Southwest Airlines, with the help of lobbyists, created legal barriers to prohibit the consortium from moving forward and the entire project was eventually scuttled in 1994, when the State of Texas withdrew the franchise.

  5. Ryan says:

    For skyrocketing costs, see: Bay Bridge Project

    California has a nice history when it comes to this.

  6. Ryan says:

    “High speed rail” in California will pay for itself — in a few hundred years.

  7. Carlos says:

    Reminds me of the “Performing Arts Center” we have in our little burg here. Fancying ourselves as a “cultural center” without a place to display our “culture” (think radicals, think OWS) the council got all their bean counters together, hired outside “consultants” (people hired by government entities to justify through smoke and mirrors whatever scam the guvmint entity wants to pile on the people), and presented to the people a ballot option that said the project would not only be self-supporting within five years, it would have paid for itself within that five years!

    We, the great unwashed, are not only still paying for it through increased taxes forty years later, a vast majority of us po’ unwashed fools can’t afford to take ourselves or our culturally-deprived chillun there, either.