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California’s High Speed Folly

Your Tax Dollars!

More news of the stimulus’s failure emerged this week with CBO’s report citing how it may have cost $4.1 million per job, but the story that should be on everyone’s minds concerning the Obama’s agenda is California’s high speed rail project.  Calls for a high speed rail system by the Obama administration have been enhanced given China’s successful completion of their system last summer.  However, if you look at the current California project, the scale of failure is epical and our tax dollars are being poured into it.

In a rare instance, CNN gave a rather insightful report on how this proposed high speed rail is actually three times more than its estimated cost. The railroad project itself seemed sound.  A line from Los Angeles to San Francisco spanning 2oo miles was a palatable initiative for Californians, which is why they voted for a $10 billion dollar bond measure back in 2008.  However, the original estimate was in the ball park of about $34 billion dollars. It is now  projected to cost a monstrous $198 billion dollars.  Additionally, Drew Griffin, CNN Investigative Correspondent, reported that not a single rail has been laid in the four years since the initiative was passed.

This marks another stinging failure of the domestic agenda of the Obama administration.  First clean energy, now high speed rail networks.  It fits nicely into the description George Will aptly made about American liberalism on Charlie Rose last August as”an amalgamation of appetites of parochial interests.”   The project is now revised under the new Chairman of California’s Railway Authority, Dan Richard, but it’s very different original high speed blueprint. Griffin stated:

It turns out, the latest plan could be for a much slower train, not actually the high- speed futuristic cartoon California voters approved four years ago. More of a hybrid that goes slower, makes a few more stops and doesn’t quite deliver the L.A. to San Francisco promise of just a few hours.

And that’s not the half of it. This is about to become really political. California’s high-speed rail has one huge backer — President Barack Obama — and that is where you come in. The administration has pledged $3.5 billion in stimulus money, also known as federal tax dollars, and that’s just so far. Now, California admits it will need even more, tens of billions of dollars more from federal taxpayers to finish it.

But first, you have to start. And that’s where it really gets dicey. The foundational segment, the first stretch of track, will cost at least $6 billion alone and, under the new plan, will connect Fresno to Burbank. It won’t go anywhere near San Francisco. And in the process, will dissect generations-old dairy farms, nut orchards and towns that don’t want it.

That’s not the worst of it.  Apparently, Barack Obama, who continues to be a staunch proponent of this project:

 has pledged $3.5 billion in stimulus money, also known as federal tax dollars, and that’s just so far. Now, California admits it will need even more, tens of billions of dollars more from federal taxpayers to finish it.

But first, you have to start. And that’s where it really gets dicey. The foundational segment, the first stretch of track, will cost at least $6 billion alone and, under the new plan, will connect Fresno to Burbank. It won’t go anywhere near San Francisco. And in the process, will dissect generations-old dairy farms, nut orchards and towns that don’t want it.

However, even with the inflated costs and objections by local farmers, Dan Richard and the rest at the Railroad Authority aren’t giving up.  After all, as Griffin reported, “they’ve already got the promised $3 billion of your tax dollars in federal stimulus. California may not get another dime from President Obama, but it has no intention of giving back the $3 billion already promised or the billions more from California voters.”  This Rube Goldberg project is expected to take ten years to finish.  Who’s lining up to get their first ticket?

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  1. Dbargen says:

    When I clicked on this story I got a HUGE popup saying I was a winner of android prize. Had to shut down all my apps to get rid of it. Only other choice was to click CONTINUE and who knows where that would have led. I am much less likely to EVER click on a CDN article.