Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A not-so-random thought regarding California's high speed choo-choos


Oddly enough, this though never occurred to us before today...

All you need to know about the folly of this California high speed choo-choos project is where the choo-choos are not going. The single corridor where high-speed choo-choos might make some actual sense, the L.A. to Vegas route, is not being built. Ever since we can remember, we've heard just-audible buzz for a San Fran to L.A. L.A. to San Diego L.A. to Vegas route and yet as plausible as it may have been for those who have experienced the hell that is a clogged 1-15 on a Friday afternoon or Sunday evening, there was simply never enough demand to get an L.A. to Vegas high-speed rail project off top-dead-center. The travel alternatives of hopping in one's car for a 3 or 4 hr. drive or a commuter plane for a 45 minute flight overcame any casino-goers political push for choo-choos.

And despite the fact that we do not have the money to build it and despite the fact that there has never seemed to be any overwhelming demand for it, California's elected officials threatened by the specter of losing federal money gave the go-ahead to begin building the largest public works project in the history of this nation, not in San Fran, not in San Jose and not in Los Angeles but rather out in middle of nowhere, the Central Valley between the bustling burghs of Merced and Bakersfield

As we said back on Saturday, it's California in a white hot fever of spending a wealth transfer in order to be able to spend a federal wealth transfer.

And like the cost estimates for this thing that keep going up, so does the travel time between L.A. and San Fran. It was sold to the California public as a bond measure back in 2008 at $33 billion (now, at least $68 billion) and with a travel time of just under two hours.

Here's our dreaming-of-a-single-party-political-system Secretary of Transportation, yesterday, who proved on Friday that he is not fit to serve as an American public official commenting on the project:

LaHood offered a different take Monday however, writing that "[U]ltimately, California High Speed Rail will deliver passengers safely and reliably between San Francisco Bay and the Los Angeles Basin in less than three hours, setting a very competitive bar for high speed rail in the U.S."

Even a doubling of the cost before a single track has been laid and a 50% increase in travel time can't dampen the enthusiasm of a true believer who trusts in his heart of hearts that government is the real engine behind economic prosperity.




SarahB said...

LA to Vegas...not only the ONLY route that makes any sense...and the only train anyone is California has ever ASKED for...but the only line that would not require obscene levelse of imminent domain. Of course what's a trip to Vegas without stopping in Baker for a mediocre shaje at the Mad Greek?

Harrison said...

Ok so here's the latest "argument" I heard from a Liberal about this debacle... just think of how many people will take it in 50 years when California's population is massive?


Funny, isn't that?

Dean said...

Sarah, I was always partial to "Bun Boy" before they became just a generic "Bob's Big Boy".

Harrison, strange, those are the same people who told me 10-15 years ago that drilling for new oil doesn't make any sense because it won't be available at the pump for 10-15 years.