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Legislative analyst: 'Deny high-speed rail funding'

Nonpartisan legislative adviser says rail authority has failed to justify latest plan

California legislators should deny Gov. Jerry Brown's requests for all but minimal funding for the California High-Speed Rail Authority in the current budget process, the Legislative Analyst's Office recommended Tuesday, April 17.

The nonpartisan analyst's office, which provides fiscal and policy advice to the Legislature, said the rail authority has failed to provide sufficient detail and justification for its plan to build a high-speed train system.

"Specifically, funding for the project remains highly speculative and important details have not been sorted out," Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor said in a 12-page report.

In its most recent business plan, the rail authority projected the first phase of the project will cost $68 billion. However, the authority has secured only about $9 billion in voter-approved bond funds and $3.5 billion in federal funds.

Consistent with the new business plan, Brown's 2012-13 budget plan requests $5.9 billion to continue the project, consisting of $2.6 billion in state bond funds matched with $3.3 billion in federal funds to start construction in the Central Valley.

In addition, about $800 million is requested to improve existing passenger rail services and about $250 million to complete preliminary design work and environmental reviews for various sections of the project.

"In this brief report, we find that HSRA has not provided sufficient detail and justification to the Legislature regarding its plan to build a high-speed train system," the analyst said.

"We recommend the Legislature not approve the governor's various budget proposals to provide additional funding for the project. However, we do recommend that some minimal funding be provided to continue planning efforts that are currently underway."

Chris Kenrick

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Apr 18, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Let's see. Are there any reasons that the High-Speed Rail Project should be terminated?

Here are a few reasons. Each of these official government agencies have produced highly critical reports detailing all the reasons why this project should not go forward.

1. The State Senate Committee on Transportation and Housing
2. The State Senate Sub-Committee on High-Speed Rail
3. The State Legislative Analyst's Office ( at least half a dozen such reports)
4. The State Auditor
5. The State Inspector General (before Governor Brown closed that office)
6. The California High-Speed Rail Authority Peer Review Group

Currently under review by:

1. The Congressional House Oversight Committee
2. The Government Accounting Office

We can expect no enthusiastic support from either of these Federal agencies, since their obligation to do such an analysis is the consequence of possible mis- and mal-feasance by the rail authority.

This article and comments are the result of the most recent LAO Report which is highly critical of the most recent so-called "Business Plan" by the rail authority

Terminating this project is no mere whim on the part of some of us 'decliners," as the Governor chooses to call us. The fact is, there is now a sufficient, indeed overwhelming basis for shutting down the California High-Speed Rail Authority and its project.

I have to ask again, why should we taxpayers support the construction of a luxury train that will be used only by the affluent. Those who persist in supporting this project either don't know, or, inexplicably, don't care that the train tickets will be the most expensive train tickets available.

What kind of a future for California is it to build a fancy train usable only by the rich?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm

People, it's no longer HIGH SPEED rail.

It's now just another train.

Thank goodness the legislative analyst blew the whistle. Let's just hope the idiots in Sacramento are listening (NEVER bet against them making the wrong decision).

My only complaint is that the legislative analyst said they should keep funding the administration just in case things change in the future. NO! It's that attitude that leaves us taxpayers paying for buggywhip commissions for decades after they've outlived their usefulness.

Sacramento: Kill this project. Kill it now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bob
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2012 at 6:31 pm

Kill it now before it costs the State (and taxpayers) money we don't have.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Norman
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2012 at 8:19 pm

QED!!!! Its a farce.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 19, 2012 at 7:07 am

It needs to be killed, but I doubt that will happen. Our legislators are beholden to organized labor and they want the jobs and they don't care whether it breaks the state or not. Just so long as they get those jobs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ralph Waldo
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2012 at 6:03 pm

It's never SHUT THIS DOWN!! It's always "just give us a little bit more." It ain't over 'til it's over, and it ain't never over. This misbegotten project will rise again, just as soon as the flim flam is a little better.

The slipperiness of politicians who have the bit in their teeth is a wonder to behold.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by YOUNG VOICE
a resident of another community
on Apr 20, 2012 at 5:39 pm

ALL of us young people of voting age are totally FOR the high speed railways across the country.
We have plans to protest the "graying of our area" for being so hopelessly naive.
You older people just want to protect your property values.
We are not as dumb as the politicians with special motives which are really based on your thinking you are protecting your kids.
We are not impressed and a lot of us have turned on our parents and the older political types. We all have a future you never dreamt of living without a class system. We are actually just a bunch of lucky rich suburbians compared to us who have had the opportunity to travel and to see the world and know how much money rules. We are almost socialists compared to most parents.
Do any of you talk to us? Very few and when you do, we get threats unless we make grades for Stanford or an Ivy College. Lots of us are going to drop out like Mark and our own hero, Steve Jobs.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 20, 2012 at 8:14 pm

YOUNG VOICES = R Gordon


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Norman
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 21, 2012 at 11:05 am

There is a huge cost that the HSR Authority does not include in their estimates. Its the cost of interest on the debt they incur as HSR is being built. My back-of-the-envelope calculations are that the cost will be 50% higher than whatever they are estimating.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Apr 21, 2012 at 1:42 pm

After having carefully read YOUNG VOICE's thoughtful explanation of why high-speed rail is good for America, I am now totally convinced our nation will be in good hands. It is obvious what an exemplary job our education system has been doing in turning out such bright and rational individuals.

How sensible you are, YV to turn on your parents. I'm certain that they are filled with pride at your insights and your decision. I hope that they have increased your allowance for your independence of thought. YV, the clarity of your language, grammar and thoughts, as revealed to us here, reinforces our confidence that the future is in good hands. Keep up the good work, YV.

By the way, YOUNG VOICE, how young are you? Precocious, I would say!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Young voice -

Many of the people who want to shut down the poorly conceived and unnecessary HSR project ARE looking out for our children. We don't want them to be saddled with another $100 or $200 billion in debt for a slow train to Los Angeles. No one's trying to deny you or your generation travel to LA. Just go to any of our four major airports (not downtown SF, as with HSR) and you can easily travel to any of about a dozen Southern California airports (not one, as with HSR). The flights take one hour (not three, as with HSR), cost as little as $80 (not $250, as with HSR)... and best of all, they're run by private businesses!

Showing restraint in wasteful, unnecessary government spending is just one way some of us are trying to save our future generations. If we did more of that, perhaps California wouldn't have to charge you so much for tuition.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by YOUNG VOICE
a resident of another community
on Apr 21, 2012 at 3:56 pm

READ the Huffington Post and watch for protests to be organizing among those who are not smelling of death and taxes.
ALL of you who are paranoid, are so well profiled in the articles today...........and week.
You read this silly throwaway and think that the world for us is okay to live in after you are all buried in your bucks and bonds.
As to Menlo Voter, I am a fan of the man or woman R.Gordon, but do not have any regard for that fraud you hired/paid to do nothing with his name.
Are any of you well travelled? I paid my own way to every country in the world by my investments in bullshed which makes the corn grow and TESLA eventually run.
Do you really think your kids and grandchildren listen to you? OR believe you?.........


 +   Like this comment
Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Apr 21, 2012 at 6:28 pm

I take back what I said.

You actually DESERVE this train.

And you deserve to pay for it for the rest of your life.

Enjoy the ride!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 21, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Guys:

Young Voices is clearly our favorite troll R Gordon.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by R.GORDON
a resident of another community
on Apr 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm

Don't blame me for having a follower who is not making a living by following elephants in parades. He is funny.
He also is more astute and honest than most of you and managed to silence the carpenter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Apr 23, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Mr. Gordon:

young voices is not a "follower". He is YOU.

Editor: Please


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