Town Square

How High Speed Rail will affect out local communities

Original post made by morris brown, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Jun 26, 2008

In an article in the new local paper the DAILY POST, Diana Diamond interviews Rod Diridon and writes the following:

This story contains 245 words.

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Posted by morris brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 27, 2008 at 5:00 am

Sorry -- I omitted giving a link to the article.

Web Link

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Posted by concerned taxpayer
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Jun 28, 2008 at 5:38 pm

Wow, that's expensive. Does anyone know how much of the real costs that $10 B bond covers? Does it include all of the initial design and construction, including grade separations and materials? Does it include subsidizing operations, as most rail systems require? Would that be above and beyond what we taxpayers already pay for Caltrain and Amtrak? I worry about getting lowballed with an already high amount.

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Posted by Martin Engel
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 29, 2008 at 9:53 pm

Glad you asked, taxpayer. Can you think of any infrastructure project where the initial costs did not double, triple or increase four and five times the original estimate? Homer Tunnel in Palo Alto? Bay Bridge? The Boston Big Dig? The Eurotunnel? BART? Light rail in San Jose?

Prof. Bent Flyvbjerg, at the Delft University of Technology, has done extensive research on large railroad projects and established a pattern of huge cost overruns in development and highly inflated projections of ridership and revenue.

All of which is to say, that the current cost projections for the SF to LA segment of the high-speed train are budgeted at $33 billion and the entire project, including Sacramento and San Diego, will cost $42 billion. That’s insufficient in today’s dollars. What do suppose it will be in 12 years, when it’s supposed to be completed? It’s not unreasonable to project actual final costs at $100 billion or more. The current $10 billion on the November ballot is merely an entry fee. (Although they don’t tell us that.) Is any of this a good idea in this economy? I don’t think so.

The question then becomes, why should we taxpayers in California foot as much as $100 billion for a luxury train that won’t do any of the things they promise, and will continue to be a drain on the state economy forever?