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High Speed Rail – The Grand Swindle

Original post made by Morris Brown, Menlo Park: Park Forest, on Nov 7, 2011

High Speed Rail – The Grand Swindle

We have been Swindled

The passage of Prop 1A in Nov 2008 authorizing almost $10 billion dollars in State bonds to be used for creation of a High Speed Rail Train is now clearly shown to be a grand Swindle.

Not only were the voters swindled into passing the Proposition but the legislature was swindled onto passing and allowing Prop 1A to ever appear on the ballot.

In 2008 the California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) promoted the project saying the cost would be $32 billion. The just released business plan now says the cost will be $98.5 billion.

In 2008, we were told a trip from LA to SFO would be 2 hours and 40 minutes. Under the new plan, the trip will take at least 4 hours and more likely 5 to 6 hours. In 2008 we were told ridership would be 117 million passengers per year; now the number is reduced to at most 35 million

In 2008 we were told we could go from LA to SF by the year 2020; now we are told it won’t be until 2032.

And so the list goes on and on. The CHSRA has been a rogue agency, making promises that cannot be kept. The CHSRA promised private investment, yet currently no private equity has appeared.

It is time to stop this project. The legislature has the power to cut funding from the project. This was the action recommended by the LAO and should be immediately implemented.

Morris Brown
Menlo Park

Comments (15)

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 7, 2011 at 12:00 pm

I agree. HSR is a travesty.

This is just the latest in a continuing series of revisions showing higher projected costs, less frequency, speed and convenience and lower ridership estimates.

The voters of California were sold a bill of goods. Stop it NOW.

Posted by R. Gordon
a resident of another community
on Nov 8, 2011 at 7:12 am

Most of the budget soars are probably due to the many legal battles that have blocked the progress.
In Woodside and the other RICH Peninsula areas, it is the "noise" that they object to when natural geography calls for taking over the land where the rich live and have a direct line to L.A., which would eventually branch out across the country and bring millions of jobs.
People are in such denial of the obvious and are hung up on bitching and litigation........It will still happen...A.Rooney----who agreed with me.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:33 am

R. Gordon -

Get your facts straight - there isn't a dollar of litigation expense in the newly revised numbers. And this is only the beginning - some estimate that HSR will cost 2 to 3 times this latest estimate.

Perhaps you should take some time off and relax... say at Disneyland. You can go any of our three local airports and take a Southwest flight to John Wayne Airport. It will cost you $59 and take all of 70 minutes.

Air travel. Fast. Cheap. Easy. Convenient. No tax subsidies by the public. No $100+ billion price tag. Lots of airports to choose from. A good example of private industry doing something faster, cheaper and more convenient than government. Available today.

Posted by Sir Topham Hatt
a resident of Menlo Park: University Heights
on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:49 am

Air travel? My boy, we all know that the only path forward is back!

Once we get this railroad going, we'll begin the state-subsidized return to horse-drawn carriages and stagecoaches. For only $100B dollars (not a penny more, I'm sure of it), we will establish a state-wide system of stagecaoch service that will be the envy of other states and dare I say, even Europe!

"Verification code recorded by daguerreotype"

Posted by Beau S.
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on Nov 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Well stated, Morris Brown and POGO!

Posted by Norman
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 8, 2011 at 8:45 pm

We know that even this new projection is a lie, also. How? They came in at $98.5B. I can just imagine the pressure to keep it under the headline grabbing >$100B. To coin a phrase: "Have they no shame.?"

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 8, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Would anyone take a bet that the next projection (if HSR isn't stopped first) will be lower than the most recent projection?

No, I didn't think so...

Posted by Road Warrior
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Our highways and roads are a damn swindle as well. 13B$ EVERY YEAR and all we get are the congested, potholed parking lots. HSR looks like a bargain. They keep telling me that my tax dollars go toward widening and maintenance and it's all a farce. Abolish CALTRANS.

Posted by Morris Brown
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Nov 8, 2011 at 10:23 pm

In a stunning announcement today, John Mica, chair of the (Federal) House Transportation Committee,announced: (this committee oversees the D.O.T. to which the FRA answers)

"Mica said he plans to hold a hearing in early December to look at whether the California plan and others are still feasible."

The Federal Government is the key funding source for the project. Are they willing to allow this project, which has tripled in cost in 3 years, to go ahead? How much more in Federal funding are they willing to commit.

Even in Washington, a $100 billion price tag is not going to be just pushed under the rug.

Morris Brown
Menlo Park.

Posted by Menlo Voter
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:21 am

Hopefuly sanity will prevail and this boondoggle will be killed.

Posted by Cryptic
a resident of another community
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:22 am

HSR is a complete boondoggle. If they really expect it to take 4+ hours to go from LA to SF, is it really "high speed" rail? I'm not taking HSR if it takes 4 hours... I can fly down there in 2, and drive in 7!

Posted by John
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:25 am

Is there any way we can get a referendum before the voters again? I predict that, if it were up for a vote, it would go down to a resounding defeat.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Woodside High School
on Nov 9, 2011 at 11:29 am

Cross check, Pogo. Good points, but air travel has some significant subsidies -airports, FAA,TSA, et al plus a few extra minutes.

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Observer - most of those are paid by USERS, not taxpayers. You don't fly, you don't pay. Can't say the same for HSR, can you?

Posted by POGO
a resident of Woodside: other
on Nov 10, 2011 at 8:11 am

In addition to travel times that are more than twice as long as airplanes, people seem to discount (a) the time it will take to get to train stations which are located downtown and almost always less convenient than airports to both your home and destination point and (b) the time it will take to park, get through security and board a train - and yes, there will likely be security screening at train stations.

In the first instance, air travel will almost always have a 30 to 60 minute advantage over train travel and in the second instance will be equivalent. When you add in the 90 minute advantage air travel has over train travel time and the convenience of landing far closer to your destination, it simply doesn't pay. For better or worse, most of America has been structured in a suburban layout with both living and working areas distant from city centers. This isn't Europe where people generally want to travel from one small downtown to another.

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