**Posted by Phineas
Because, at nearly $35,000,000 per mile, they surely had to be the cheapest:
Out of the entire universe of those who could have won the first phase construction contract for California’s high speed rail boondoggle, who would stand out as the last person who would win it if there were no political patronage.
Put another way, who is the most likely person to win it if there is political patronage?
Both questions have the same answer: Richard Blum, the husband of California senator Diane Feinstein.
So, who won the contract? Blum, of course, as the principle owner of Tutor Perini, the lead firm in the three-firm consortium selected by the California High Speed Rail Authority.
Yes, Diane, it really does look that bad to us little people.
The group lead by Tutor Perini bid $985,000,000 to build the initial 29-mile stretch, roughly from Fresno to Madera, which doesn’t include the costs for electrification and land purchase. And, as Laer points out at Crazifornia, they started with this section because it’s the cheapest. (I can’t wait to see what the bids are to lay track through the mountain passes…)
I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the principle owner of the company is husband to a powerful United States senator, who happens to be from the state building said rail system. I mean, it’s not as if there have been any allegations of self-dealing before.
I’m about as shocked as Louis was in Casablanca:
UPDATE 01/30/2014: It appears Blum divested himself of Tutor-Perini stock in 2005, calling into question much of the Crazifornia article. The rail deal still stinks like a fish left out in the sun, however.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)