California High Speed Rail Authority proposes to spend $68 Billion for a $34 Billion Project
California is financially, socially, and morally bankrupt. For years, California, beginning with Jerry Brown's first terms as Governor, has been what I call "an interesting social experiment", an interesting social experiment that has been an abject failure as demonstrated by its fiscal, social, and cultural state of affairs today.
California is no longer the "Golden State" for which the late great Al Jolson sang "California here I come".
For years, every group and sub-group have been promised and given what they want and welfare became a generational institution, handed down from one generation to the next. For years Initiatives were passed absent funding sources or realistic funding sources. It was only thanks to Proposition 13, that California Taxpayers prevented runaway Marxism from effectively taxing middle class homeowners out of their homes. Today, many City and County Bureaucrats grumble for the repeal of Proposition 13 so that they can expand local government—No Thank You.
Unfortunately, many liberals in Washington D.C. and especially Mr. Obama have not learned from the failure of California, as they seek to replicate the California disaster at the national level.
California’s financial quagmire is structural, its problems cannot be solved by a few cuts here and there, it must be addressed by a fundamental restructuring of the State’s fiscal house and the shedding of the budget busting Initiatives that have proven to be the State’s undoing, i.e. it’s time for a State Constitutional Convention and wipe away thirty years of Marxist social experimentation and welfare dependency.
Despite the state's current, structural $20 billion deficit, the wise ole swine on Mt. Olympus in Sacramento, in coordination with second coming of Moon Beam the Great, have decided to commit $8 billion to begin developing a high speed rail project between the great cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, presumably so the great minds in these two metropolises, who are responsible for the destruction of the State can get together more easily. The projected cost, according to the States "High Speed Rail Authority" has risen from $34 billion, to $43 billion and is now slated to cost California Tax payers, in the expert analysis of the "Authority" a whopping $68 billion.
The question has yet to be asked, where this initial $8 billion will come from when the State has been consistently short $20 billion to cover its operating budget for the last 4 years, but we are talking about liberal Sacramento logic. Of course the answer is bond finance, meaning more debt. At what point do we "debt" ourselves out of existence? What happens if our grandchildren refuse to pay the debts they had no hand in running up?
In a great economy, a high speed rail project would be an excellent project, IF managed and planned properly and absent political prostitution. This has not been the case in California, as usual. California has a habit of electing incompetent officials at the State and local level based on emotion, rather than reason and we see the results every day, whether it be in Sacramento or City Hall. Most of these mental midgets know the bankruptcy code far better than the business code.
California crafted a bureaucracy to plan and manage the Project. The State called this the "California High Speed Rail Authority". This brain trust of government ingenuity first decided on a longer more expensive route through the interior of the Central Valley without first considering the full costs of construction, right-of-way acquisition and other budget busters. In fact, the "Authority" approved a route which was based on political patronage (prostitution) rather than sound economics in the interest of the taxpayer. The route approved by the "Authority" is longer and more expensive than the obvious and most logical route. The "Authority", rather than look to successful entities and models, in order to save taxpayer funds, the "Authority" hired a New York engineering firm. One would think it would be far more cost effective and just plain smarter to look to those who have developed high speed rail efficiently and effectively, i.e. Japan and Europe, but then again, infrastructure Projects such as High Speed Rail in Europe and Japan are based on the National Interest and not political patronage, thus California would never look to these models, which as it turns out, it refused to do.
In fact, both Japan and France showed interest in assisting California. However, business savvy Japan took one look at the “Authority’s” plans and walked away from the project early. Too bad the Japanese did not leave a few Samurai Swords for the “Authority” to partake in, but that would require honor, a character trait few California officials poses.
The French High Speed Agency (SNCF) made an extensive and prolonged effort to assist California, even going so far as to submit proposals, analysis and meet with Directors of the "Authority". The French (SNCF) has developed and operated 1100 miles of track and 800 trains and has carried 115 million people and has consistently made an operating profit every year, yet the California "High Speed Rail Authority" ignored this successful resource in favor of a New York engineering firm whose pedigree pale in comparison. Regardless of anti-French jokes, the French do many things right. The French are unafraid of nuclear energy, they receive a large percentage of their energy from nuclear reactors and are thus essentially energy independent, while the U.S is not, they led the effort to rid the world of Gaddafi and thus provided justice for the victims of Pan Am 103, while the British released the terrorist bomber, and their High Speed Rail system, along with the German system is second to none in Europe.
The French High Speed Rail Agency (SNCF) was appalled at many aspects of the proposed California High Speed Rail Project. Their criticisms were outlined in a front page article of the July 9, 2012 Los Angeles Times, hardly a conservative publication. One recommendation the French made had to do with the route and the excessive cost it added to the project. The French demonstrated that the route approved by the California "Authority", absent cost analysis. The French stated the State could utilize existing right-of-way and avoid costly land acquisition and the rout would be quicker and overall the cost using the I-5 route would be around $38 billion as opposed to the $68 billion proposed by the New York consultant and approved by the California "Authority".
That's right; the "French Plan" would cost California Taxpayers half the money and result in a more efficient Project.
The proposed route of the California High Speed Rail Project was found to be "politically" based thus adding billions in cost and debt to the California taxpayer. As taxpayers we must ask who stands to gain from what can only be considered graft on a grand scale. The French suggested a far more cost effective route , which the French demonstrated would clearly be a faster route, by 20 minutes at least, and far more cost effective, saving California taxpayers some $30 billion in cost, not to mention interest on the bonds. The French SNCF also suggested that California use competitive bidding, a novel idea, to partner with an actual operator, i.e. an entity with some real experience so as to "identify a profitable route" (not a political route), "hold down building costs" (save California taxpayers, after all, California broke), "develop realistic ridership forecasts" and "attract private investors" (imagine this, Socialist France recommending a plan to California that calls for private investment, a mortal sin in Sacramento).
California on the other hand, via its "Authority", outsourced all planning to a New York engineering firm. California refused to even consider any of the ideas or thoughts submitted by the French. Why?
In the end the French SNCF stated that the California High Speed rail Project is not a viable project, and like the Japanese, walked away, presumably in disgust.
The California High Speed Rail Project is an example of government graft; corruption and ineptness that makes the infamous "bridge to nowhere" look minor.
Taxpayers MUST begin to pillory their Assembly members, State Senators and Governor with questions and threats of recall. The Attorney General must be asked to investigate.
The State of California is asking voters to raise taxes in November to solve its "budget crisis" while at the same time proposing to go deeper into debt to fund a project it's discredited "Authority" projects to cost $68 billion, when an experienced entity has demonstrated that the project is laden with inefficiency and excessive cost and could actually be completed for half the projected cost.
The State of California is proposing to spend $30 billion more on a project then necessary. The State of California is proposing to proceed with a project when it is not economically prudent to do so. The State of California is proposing to proceed with a project that defies logic, a project that should be based on interstate planning on the scale of the Interstate Highway System, not intrastate, thus Jerry Brown has created another "space program" for the State of California. The California High Speed Rail Project is a sure sign of incompetence or corruption or both and responsible California citizens of all political persuasions must act to stop it.
Rodney Martin -- RIGHT In AMERICA