Gov. Brown’s high-speed rail is a fiscal train wreck on life support

Bullet train in Taiwan.

Gov. Jerry Brown had a dream: to link Los Angeles and San Francisco by a high-speed bullet train. It would haul passengers 700 miles in two hours and 40 minutes and reduce CO2 emissions.

It entailed a proposed cost of $32 billion with an initial $10 billion bond to cover initial costs. And now the project is facing soaring cost overruns, an out-of-control budget, and missed targets.

Given this was proposed during the housing mortgage crisis of 2008, voters were promised high-wage positions and a low-cost, climate-friendly alternative to flying.

Now Brown’s trainspotting obsession has ballooned from $32 billion to $68 billion with a completion date sometime after 2025. Compare that to the First Transcontinental Railroad (1,912 miles), which took six years to complete.

To understand the scope and immense failure of the project, you only have to look at the progress made and money spent. The rail was divided up into different segments that would be tackled individually.

That way the San Joaquin Valley segment could become operational while work continued elsewhere.

But not a single rail has been laid. And the 118-mile segment’s cost has shot up nearly 50 percent to $10 billion.

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Comments (11)

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    Sonnyhill

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    Billion$ plus bungling buffoon Brown equals an over budget bullet train that may never run, let alone on schedule. Only the rich will ride it if it ever runs.

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    G

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    This is the poster child project for the climate change movement. A dreamy proposal with lots of promises, billions in cost overruns, big money in the pockets of favored co-conspirators, fleecing of taxpayers, little if nothing to show for progress, and no end in sight. Thank you Governor Moonbeam, the architect of this brave new world.

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    Amber

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    California’s Moonbeam must have taken the same Grade 9 economics course as Prime Minister Photo op in Canada . Budget’s balance themselves don’t you know .
    If the great people of California keep electing Moonbeam maybe it’s because the alternatives are even worse , a Hollywood actress or weight lifter for example .
    Why waste $$billions to build a bullet train that is going to fall into the ocean with the next big shake or rising sea levels ? Silly Brown . In California you get what you don’t pay for .

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    G

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    The state of California is so arrogant that they think they are above the laws of the United States. It wouldn’t be quite so laughable if they were competent with anything at all. Instead they keep inflicting themselves with impossible debt and failed social/economic policies, expecting the rest of the country to bail them out as they flip us the bird.

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      JayPee

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      Good Bye failed Jesuit faggot Jerry
      Good Bye California
      Most people want you to be independent
      So you will have to pay for your stupidity

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    Gator

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    I did some back of the envelope figures on this two years ago, and this is what I came up with…

    The California High-Speed Rail Authority has estimated the project’s year-of-expenditure cost at $68.4 billion (2011 estimate).

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_High-Speed_RailWikipedia

    SFO to LAX Round-trip = $137

    http://www.orbitz.com/flights/from-San_Francisco-to-Los_Angeles.o4468.d4309/

    The equivalent of 499,270,073 tickets

    More than 6 million people fly between the Los Angeles basin and San Francisco Bay per year

    http://cahsr.blogspot.com/2009/10/la-sf-nations-second-busiest-air-route.html

    For round trip, cut that figure in half, to 3 million.

    So my back of the envelope figures show that for the cost of building the high speed rail, you could fly everyone for free for 166 years.

    Of course projects like this can easily double in actual cost.

    But who is counting?

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      Sonnyhill

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      The last car of the train should be built like a Brinks truck, call it the cash caboose. It won’t run without chronic subsidizing. The bonds will roll over forever.

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    Amber

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    Gator precisely.. who is counting . Maybe we missed something earth saving like solar
    powered trains . We just have to get past the notion that debt is limitless .
    How does this state even raise money now ?

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    Squidly

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    And this moron is asking the rest of the country to bail them out of their dam (damn) mess? … Give me a break! … Not one stinking dime should EVER be given to Kalifornistan .. not one dime, not EVER!

  • Avatar

    Amber

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    Brown loves taxes so much why not charge the 4 million illegals in California $10,000 each to stay to raise $40 Billion and pay for his new train set ? That way he can expedite illegals more efficiently to northern California and maybe Oregon . Isn’t that the argument for a carbon tax ? Send a price signal ?
    Now we know why they like to break Federal laws .

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    David Lewis

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    I don’t like what his happening in California, don’t like Governor Brown, really don’t like rail transit, and believe Gator’s envelope calculations sound about right. However, to maintain our believability we need to put this in perspective. The performance of this project is pretty typical of many light rail projects. All have over runs and with some projects they are huge. If I had a crystal ball I would probably see the Bullet Train project being one of the worst ever, but this is yet to be seen.

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