Even Thomas Sowell gets it. He has an interesting article at National Review Online titled “Reckless Spending.” I love the caption under the title “Barack Obama isn’t stupid. High-speed rail is.” Yes Mr. Sowell really gets it. I wouldn’t accuse the President of being stupid either, nefarious perhaps, left of Karl Marx perhaps, has the “Union Label” tattooed on his ass perhaps, but not stupid.
You can read the article at the source below as he makes some salient points about this being a big gigantic waste of tax-payer dollars, which I have remarked on before. This is the key point…….
High-speed rail may be feasible in parts of Europe or Japan, where the population density is much higher than in the United States. But, without enough people packed into a given space, there will never be enough riders to repay the high cost of building and maintaining a high-speed rail system.
While Mr. Sowell delves into the matter nicely, I think there are a few more points to be made about what a gigantic millstone high-speed rail will be around our necks, especially in California, a place with about $500 million in unfunded pensions and about $25 billion in the hole on their budget. One would think that the state would be rife to want to take on another expensive project, especially one that will be an endless black hole for tax-dollars, but no, the voters were happy to dump money we don’t have into it to the tune of $9.9 billion dollars. Yes billion with a “b, not million with an “m.” That folks, is only a beginning, much more of those billions will be spent to build this boondoggle, not to mention more billions that will be spent to maintain it.
To me it also gets even deeper than that. Basically this is a Obama union payoff to his buddies. You can damn well bet that the unions will be on the job diligently milking every penny they can from the tax payers and increasing the cost along the way. When is the last time you heard of any big project (especially in California) coming in under budget? Huh? I don’t hear anything. I thought so.
If you want an example look at the replacement for the eastern span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, which is so far an astounding $4 billion dollars over budget and they’re not even done yet. Think high-speed rail won’t be the same way? I’d bet you could get 100-1 odds in Las Vegas that it won’t come in at budget and 1,000-1 odds that it won’t come in under budget. You’d probably get laughed out of the casino if you told them you wanted to lay a bet that it would come in over budget because that’s a given.
Want another reason this “Boondoggle Express” should be aborted? How about maintaining it after it’s built? It’s already a given (read Sowell’s column for the details) that his will never be a profitable venture. To be blunt – it’s going to need to be subsidized by the good old taxpayers again. How many tens of millions or hundreds of millions will this cost every year? You will have track to maintain, trains to maintain and repair, no doubt union employees who will want extravagant salaries, benefits and retirement packages so they can retire and go fishing when they’re 50 or at some ridiculously low age.
It isn’t even off the ground yet and people are already going NIMBY over it, too. Farmers in California’s Central Valley are suddenly finding out the tracks will be cutting through their fields and orchards. People in Palo Alto and other towns on the San Francisco Peninsula are already up in arms over it too! They don’t want the noise of a train hitting 300 MPH as it passes by their backyard and I frankly don’t blame them. They also worry that their property values could be lowered. I’ll bet there will be a lot of legal costs involved over where this train goes before it’s all over, no doubt at even more cost to the tax-payers than factored in.
You have to really love where the first section of track will be going, too. No, it won’t be going someplace that someone might actually use it like from LA to Bakersfield or San Francisco to Fresno. The silly people who are planning this have for some reason, that fly’s in the face of common sense, decided that the first whopping 65 mile section will go from a town I’ve never heard of (and I’m a native Californian) called Borden to Corcoran, which is also in the middle of nowhere, a town whose main going concern is a prison. All this at the penny-pinching (/sarc) cost of $4.15 billion dollars for a train that goes from and to nowhere.
Would a sane person not want the first section to go from and to some place that might actually attract ridership and bring in more than a pittance? Well, if this was being run by private business, certainly! But, you have to remember this is run by political appointees at the California High-Speed Rail Authority and it appears that they could frankly care less if this makes money or not. After all, the taxpayers have a lot of money and if we need more we’ll figure out how to screw them out of it.
They’re not being very responsible either. They are already blowing millions by writing big checks to contractors and not even bothering to check to see if they’re getting what they’re paying for. Hell! It’s not their money, why should they worry?
I hope someone brings this up on the ballot in the next state-wide election because the “Boondoggle Express” needs to go away before it turns into another train-wreck for California, a state that fittingly appears to love train-wrecks of all kinds, not to mention CO2 Insanity.
Source: National Review Online