We’re Taking the Train!
I had to read this article “Did bullet train officials ignore warning about need for taxpayer money?“ three times before I hit on what really amazed me about it.
One of the things that amuses me immensely is when Lefists sacrifice one of their golden calves upon the altar in favor of another of their golden idols. It’s almost as if in the pantheon of things that the political Left holds on high, some things are… wait for it… more equal than others.
Let’s take for the moment, the California High Speed Rail project, which is neither “high-speed” nor inexpensive. It is, on the other hand, touted as a great leap forward* in the “fight” against global warming (although how it will stop the Sun from going Red Giant is not at all clear to me).
I once had a caller to the show who told me that this train was going to be “super-cool” and “people will ride it.” This was, of course, during the campaign for Prop 1A as it were, and the voters of California approved the idea of borrowing a further $10 Billion to start the process. Not to finish it. To start building it.
From the beginning the process has been found to be full of lies, cronyism and poorly thought through ideas. Now, even as construction slowly lurches against the tide of common sense, we find the biggest financial danger from the project may very well threaten not just our pocketbooks, but the very transportation networks – already subsidized by us for the purpose of providing anti-global warming transportation to “lower income people.”
Back in 2008, one legislative aide fought to exclude any operating subsidies from the CAHSR budget because those would then reduce the General Fund and potentially any other transportation funds, thus reducing subsidies to those operations which, in his words, are used by “lower income people.”
Now, while that might seem far fetched, let’s scenario this rosily** for a moment. Consider that the CAHSR gets completely built, at somewhere close to $75-100 Billion, far more than the available bond revenues to cover the cost. Meaning that first off, the taxpayers of California are on the hook for that cost overrun. While today, Congressman Jeff Denham promises that there will be no federal money, it is unlikely that come 2017 the GOP will control the White House or the Senate. That means that spending becomes a series of compromise CSR’s or omnibus spending bills passed three minutes before the deadline. Can he guarantee that CAHSR spending won’t make its way into those?
Which means, of course, that the entire country then gets to help pay for California’s boondoggle. Huzzah!
But what of those poor people who need the inner city bus networks? If the CAHSR system, shiny and big, turns out to need massive subsidies – and it will – from where does the money get pulled? That’s right, other transportation subsidies, most likely inner city buses.
The thing that Art Bauer tried to prevent in 2008, will come to pass as surely as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, glinting off the shiny new rails that carry a not-a-bullet-train from LA to SF via Merced and Corcoran. Because the Amtrack Coast Starliner, in the words of Howard Wolowitz, takes seven times longer and costs almost twice as much as flying…
But since it will ultimately screw poor people out of a much needed benefit, I am sure that Conservatives will be blamed for it and those same poor people will go right on voting for a Left that puts their patronage below that of a global warming stopping train.
*If you don’t get the reference, read THIS.
** Alexander Haig, Secretary of State, 1981