The latest blow to California’s plan to connect north and south with an ambitious network of high-speed rail lines came Monday in Washington. Rep. Darrell Issa (R) of California announced that the oversight committee he chairs will investigate crucial federal funding of the project.

That followed two studies – one by and independent panel, one by the state auditor – that called the plan risky. Polls show faltering support among California voters because of rising costs.

  1. scandihoovian says:

    They’d have better luck trying to build that thing into the ocean and linking it up with China. It could be the ‘floating rail line of the fuuture’, paid for by your grandchildren’s grandchildren.

  2. Dallas says:

    Have the due diligence of an investigation but the opinion of the sheeple ? Most sheeple would vote to buy a boat than to invest in the foundation of their own sinking house.

    If it makes sense to do by planners, the government has the right of way access to land and free from the short term ‘please wall street the quarter’ to make such a public welfare commitment.

    • deowll says:

      John D. has already explained that these things never pay off. They are always money pits.

  3. jbenson2 says:

    Classic inept government planning.

    This California boondoggle makes the 3.5 mile Massachusetts “Big Dig” look like a bargain.

  4. msbpodcast says:

    And how did the subways and busses get stopped in the 50s?

    By interference from GM and General Tire who went around tearing up the railroad tracks and replacing the older electric urban transit systems with smelly underpowered diesel buses. (GM Bus Division was never supposed to be providing a viable alternative to the car.)

    Yes, tell me all about how the blessed free market is all that great and how its going to take care of us all as we get older and can’t drive anymore.

    Yes, tell me how many people have died at the front in all those wars fought for smelly combustible liquid and how many people have died in preventable accidents from preventable trauma over the years, pinned like bug to cardboard by their steering wheels before 1965, when ralph Nader published Unsafe At Any Speed.

    You idiot…

    Sometimes you need interference so you stand a chance of not having some accountant do a close-minded cost/benefit analysis finding that cleaning up the air and the water is too expensive and decide that the Cuyahoga river is acceptable.

    • deowll says:

      You might have a point if you weren’t defending what any good accountant will tell you is nothing more than a scam to rip off the tax payers. A method to transfer tax money into the hands of con men who are trying to sell you a vastly over priced white elephant that will cost more to maintain than it’s worth much less recover the money invested in it.

  5. bobbo, the pragmatic existential evangelical anti-theist says:

    Raise the tax on gasoline by 10 cents a gallon per year for the next 50 years and all these programs will find profitability while the USA becomes self sufficient on Green energy.

    Image: planning for the future and putting in a tax program to get there. Programs that benefit the 99% and not the few who directly buy our government.

    Progressive thinking for retarded bloggers.

    • jbenson2 says:

      Bobbo stumbles once again: “Raise the tax on gasoline by 10 cents a gallon per year for the next 50 years and all these programs will find profitability while the USA becomes self sufficient on Green energy.”

      Check out the UK – they’re petrol selling at over $10.00 per gallon. And they import oil and gas from Russia and the Middle East. In Germany, according to Der Spiegel, the major German solar cell companies are declaring bankruptcy. In Spain, the heavily subsidized wind mill industry is collapsing.

      Follow Bobbo’s wishes and end up with pixie dust to power the Unicorns he wants all of us to ride around on.

    • Dallas says:

      Prices at the pump should really just amount to being the true cost.

      Add this to the price of a gallon of gas:
      * ALL of the cost of maintaining a military Persian Gulf presence.
      * ALL medical ailment costs attributed to air pollution from fossil fuel air pollution
      * ALL of the costs needed by the auto industry to cleanse exhaust pipes
      * ALL of the costs needed to clean ocean spills back to how God intended them to be.

      This will be at least $3-4/gallon. I would exempt commercial uses (trucking, air and shipping).

      However, hauling a Teapublican ass to the mall and McDonald’s should have NO exemption.

    • deowll says:

      Obama has about succeeded in doubling the price of gasoline and this project still doesn’t compute.

      Actually I have a fairly decent idea from my childhood of what it was like to live in such a world and the one thing I can promise you is you don’t want to to go there. You just think you do because you don’t have a clue what that would actually mean.

      • ECA says:

        WHO here understands HOW the government keeps Prices down on oil?

        Can you guess?

        THEY TAX EVERYONE, and pass the money to the Oil corps.
        They get it from the money PAID to the corps as Oil exploration..

      • Ralph says:

        Pretty funny…. too bad you know squat about economics.

        In 2007, one year after the Dems took control of Congress (W was still Pres.), my brother complained in his screechiest conservative voice on how gas had increased under the Dems. Ironically, he gave no credit to the Dems when, a year later, gas prices were back down.

        Both the screeching and lack of credit were ridiculous – the Pres and Congress have relatively little effect on the price of gas***. Sure, cutting the subsidies to ethanol producers added 8 cents to a gallon, and here in NC the tax jumped 8 additional cents at the beginning of 2012, but little can be done to double or halve the price of gas.

        *** the exception would be starting a war with a major oil producer, such as Iraq or Iran. Should the neocons get their jollies and get a 2nd Mideast war, this time with Iran, we will see gas jump significantly again.

  6. Gildersleeve says:

    Question to California citizens – do you even *want* to link northern CA to Southern CA? Is it a good idea even if it were economically feasible?

    • sargasso_c says:

      Interesting point.

    • Mark says:

      A better questions is “Do you want to link northern and southern CA MORE than they are today?” They have freeways, regular trains, and airlines connecting them already today.

  7. LibertyLover says:

    What’s the big deal? All federal government programs run over-budget.

    • Bob says:

      Your right. High speed rail aside. This will always be a problem as long as the politicians don’t have to incure any personal financial penalties for the crazy number they tell every one.

      Just think what would have happened to Obamacare, high speed rail, and 100’s of other government programs. Had the politicians who voted for it had to pay penalties out of their own pocket every time their was a cost over run.

      If nothing else, I garentee we would have more truthful numbers.

  8. Glenn E. says:

    I agree with Gildersleeve, what’s the point of this project? Who’s interests does it serve? Very likely the very rich. Who want to commute on the taxpayers’ back. Rather than spend any of their money on gas and parking fees.

    My local city, got light commuter rail some years ago. Connecting the northern part of the county with downtown. And the first thing I noticed was that the earliest built routes always went out to the highest priced real estate in the county. Where the doctors and lawyers all tend to live. They, more than most, could afford the gas and parking fees to commute Downtown. But apparently prefer to ride for a bit less cost, on quaint little trains, to their downtown offices. At least until it gets old, and they return to driving their big town cars. Additional routes were added, to other lesser pricey neighborhoods. But to this day, I still can’t take a light rail trip to Downtown, from my slice of the suburbs, to visit the Aquarium, or art galleries, or the convention center, or the Harbor shopping area, or the Science Center. Or go see the big fireworks display held Downtown every 4th of July. Without risking my neck, to drive down there, and find a parking spot. The only public transit that comes anywhere near my digs, are the buses. And you have to hope that your car isn’t molested, in one of the few commuter parking lots provided. Because nobody bothers to police them.

    And so I wonder who this Cal. high speed rail would really be built benefit the most? Not the hyped PR answer the politician will give. But where the boarding points will really be located at? Because you can bet there will be some influence to getting the most stations nearest the priciest communities. So realtors can brag about it, to their prospective millionaire clients. You don’t think any high speed rail will be to serve the lowly middle class and poor, do you? Even though everyone’s taxes pay for it. That’s not how democracy works.

  9. Thomas says:

    When HSR was proposed the first time, most Californian’s put enough neurons together to realize it was a boondoggle that was grossly under estimated. This last time, it was “only” going to cost 9 billion (in the face of a 40 billion dollar deficit by the way) to do what you can do now for a couple of hundred bucks but without buying up a ton of CA real estate and the dumb block of voters bought into it (literally). I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that 9 billion won’t be enough. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if 9 billion doesn’t cover the line from LA to Fresno much less the Bay Area.

  10. The0ne says:

    This whole high speed fail has been going on much too long without anything happening. Sigh. It needs to die if they can’t get anything going.

  11. MartinJJ says:

    Duh. So much debate again. All you have to do is look how profitable other high speed railways around the globe are and you will have your answer. None of them are. Many generations after you will still pay for it all big time.

    Maybe first start fixing the potholes in the roads? That already appears to be problematic enough with 16 trillion dollars of debt.

  12. Cap'nKangaroo says:

    The most likely profitable route would be greater LA to Las Vegas. But it would need to be a limited number of stops in CA and dump everyone onto the Vegas strip at the northern end.

  13. ECA says:

    Why you may WANT the rail..

    MORE sales from other people.
    1 store, 1 location..and the company doesnt need to expand and make MORE STORES..
    To free up the high ways for MORE CARS..
    But, can they transport 1,000,000 people per day. And what do the people do after getting to the AREA they want, and need to travel another 5-10 miles..

    All this will become is an extension to the Buss and subway type systems..

  14. smartalix says:

    Frankly I think it is sad and pathetic that neo-elitist luddites are content with the USA having an internal transit system that is surpassed by every other developed country (and some that aren’t so developed). Does anyone have any idea how much fossil fuel we’d save as a nation if we had high-speed rail links between every major city?

    Those too stupid to get the concept of national transportation infrastructure should look into the history of our current highway system, which WOULD NOT EXIST if it were not for government initiative and funding.

    • Thomas says:

      Frankly, I think that it is sad and pathetic that elitist Luddites are unable to grasp the fundamentals of economics.

      1. Other countries do not have 9 million square km of space.
      2. We already have a system of transportation between cities that is faster, requires no additional infrastructure and likely uses less fossil fuel over long distances: airplanes.
      3. Only for transportation that would average to less than about 3 hours of driving does rail make sense and that does exist in the more densely populated parts of the country. However, there was never any real demand by the populace to have HSR from LA to SF. I.e., even in place, the travel time will be longer than driving because of stops. The people that really do need to make that trip will continue to use airports.
      4. Only people west of the Mississippi think there should be rail between all cities because there are far more cities and they are far closer. People in NY and Boston often cannot grasp the sheer distances between cities in the west and thus the incredible cost and waste of rail.

      You are confusing discontent with this specific HSR project and the way it is funded with discontent with all HSR projects. TBH, it would have made far more sense to have HSR rail between LA and San Diego: Far more densely populated, existing rail that can be expanded or reworked and an actual desire by the population to travel along that route judging by the heinous traffic. Further, that should be paid for entirely by CA. I.e., WTF is the Federal government doing using other States’ money to pay for HSR (a luxury frankly) in another State? This is exactly the type of fund misuse that needs to end. Lastly, there is the issue of whether CA can afford a 60 billion project and its ROI. The answer is no it can’t and the breakeven point, if it exists, is a century into the future at best. If CA wants HSR, it should *save* up money to pay for it which means not using that money for other purposes.

      • smartalix says:

        Those were the same arguments against the interstate highway system.

        • Thomas says:

          No. Note the operative word interstate. In addition, there was an actual *need* that the interstate highway was fulfilling as there was a serious lack of major freeways (there were highways of course) between States. CA’s HSR is neither interstate nor does it fulfill an actual need. It creates an avenue of transportation that isn’t in demand *and* already exists.

  15. smartalix says:

    Frankly the current high-speed rail plan sucks. Unless it goes between major cities and between states it will fail.

  16. Is this one of the fast moving train in the world. Actually what is the speed of this train?


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